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From the painting hy Thomas Sully^made in 18S2, in the possession of 
the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. 






'ST. botolfh's 

With Numerous lUustrationt 


Copyright, 1910, 


All rights reserved 


8. J. Fabehii,!, & Co, BosTOK, ir.S.A. 


WE Americans have a curious habit of 
dating back our heroes and of refusing 
the stamp of authentic valor — at least 
in our histories — to any act of moral or physi- 
cal courage which has happened since the 
Revolution. John Hancock we glibly dub 
" patriot," though he never fought at all, and 
in many ways was admittedly a man of pretty 
small calibre. It seems never to have occurred 
to those in charge of the spiritual sustenance 
of our youth that, beside William Lloyd Garri- 
son, Hancock shrinks to really pitiful pro- 
portions. Webster's " Bunker Hill Oration " 
we read, to be sure, but the emphasis is always 
put upon the Bunker Hill rather than upon the 
Webster. And I never heard the name of 
Wendell Phillips pronounced during the years 
in which I prepared, in the Boston public 
schools, for college. This in spite of the fact 
that our country cannot present a finer example 
of moral heroism than Phillips exemplifies; 
nor has any orator ever given to the world 


more stirring appeals to noble action than did 
he. Clear-sighted foreigners perceive the truth 
of what I am here trying to say , — and in 
this book endeavor to prove. Fredrika Bremer 
observed long ago: " The anti-slavery struggle 
will be the romance of American history." 

But the youthful enthusiasm of the newly- 
made city expressed itself also in literature, 
in art and in experiments with life. Steele 
said of a certain lady that to have known and 
loved her was a liberal education; to have 
shared in Boston's life and loved what it stood 
for during the nineteenth century was a liberal 
education. I remember once to have felt this 
with a pang of unmistakable envy at a dinner 
given by the Boston Authors' Club to Mrs. 
Julia Ward Howe and Col. Thomas Wentworth 
Higginson, president and vice-president of the 
club. Norman Hapgood, Clyde Fitch and 
Owen Wister, all of whom were just too young 
to have shared in the stirring events of which 
Mrs. Howe and Col. Higginson were important 
parts, referred in their speeches to the wonderful 
opportunities those two had enjoyed from the 
very fact of living when and where they did — 
and the rest of us younger folk feelingly echoed 
these sentiments. For though the twentieth 
century will have its opportunities, also, they 
will not be so akin to things literary as were the 
opportunities of the nineteenth century. Willis 


said of London that the cultivated American 
pecuKarly enjoys the place because he there 
sees whole shelves of his library walking about 
in coats and gowns, and an age when, as Wister 
happily put it at that dinner, — in referring 
to Mrs. Howe and Higginson, — "a lady could 
turn her pen into a sword and a gentleman his 
sword into a pen " must of necessity be the 
Golden Age to literary workers. 

Yet other high notes, also, were struck in 
the nineteenth century, notes upon which we 
of the twentieth century may well work out 
a life-symphony. The equality of woman, about 
which Margaret Fuller wrote an epoch-making 
book and for which Phillips all his life contended, 
we have yet to realize; and the fulfilment in 
some measure of that " sweetest dream ever 
dreamed in America," the Brook Farm experi- 
ment, — of which Hawthorne said towards the 
end of his life that " posterity may dig it up 
and profit by it," — remains. Yes! to us, 
also, are given wrongs to right and shackles 
to strike from the wrists of slaves. It is my 
hope, then, that this book, by recalling freshly 
the heroes of the nineteenth century, may help 
to hearten heroes for the twentieth. 
' It but remains to speak with gratitude of 
the many courtesies and quotation privileges 
extended to me. Most of these are acknowl- 
edged in the text, but I wish here particularly 


to expres.s my appreciation of the kindness of 
the Houghton Mifflin Company, who as pub- 
Hshers of the works of the most eminent Ameri- 
can authors, at least in the New England group, 
have necessarily been often appealed to and 
never in vain; to the invaluable Memorial His- 
tory of Boston; to Mr. Francis Jackson Garrison, 
who has read my chapter on The Anti-Slavery 
Movement and given me much-prized help in 
connection with it; to Mr. John Bouve Clapp, 
who placed at my disposal the results of his 
research in connection with the old Boston 
Museum; to E. P. Dutton and Co., who 
brought out The Recollections of an Old Musician; 
and to the Lothrop, Lee and Shepard Company, 
publishers of Mrs. Ednah Dow Cheney's Remi- 
niscences and of Wendell Phillips's Orations. 

In the matter of illustrations thanks are 
further due, and are gladly given, to the Massa- 
chusetts Historical Society, to the Boston 
Athenaeum and to the Bostonian Society for 
permission to reproduce certain valuable pic- 
tures in their possession; also to Mr. Frederick 
P. Vinton, the artist, a number of whose por- 
traits of distinguished Bostonians are here 
used, and to Mr. Louis A. Holman, who has 
again given me the benefit of his keen scent 
in the matter of appropriate contemporary 
illustrations. To the attendants at the Boston 
Public Library and to Charles Knowles Bolton 


of the Boston Athenaeum I feel deep obliga- 
tion also. How greatly do such courteous 
custodians of mitold treasures lighten an 
author's labor! 

M. C. C. 

Ablington Heights, Massachusetts, 1910. 




I. The Moulding of a City 1 

II. Brook Fabm: An Essay in Socialism . . 24 

m. The Real Zenobia 55 

rV. When the Slave Was a Hebo .... 83 

V. Wendell Phillips: Agitator . . . .150 

VI. Theodore Parker and His Music Hall Pulpit 197 

VII. Boston's Shake in the Ibkbpressible Conflict 233 

VIII. The Old Boston Theatres and Their Stars 238 

IX. Some Artists and Musicians Who Made the 

City Famous 281 

X. Social Queens and the World They Ruled . 306 

XI. The Old Time Hostelries and Their Stages 325 

XII. The Great Boston Fire 354 

XIII. Some Famous Visitors and the Way We En- 

tertained Them 362 

XIV. Boston as a Literary Centre . . . .382 
Index 405 


Pbancbs Anna Kemble 

From the painting by Thomas Solly, made 
in 1832, In the possession of the Boston 
Museum of Fine Arts. 

JosiAH QuiNCY, Second Mayor or Boston . 
From the painting by Gilbert Stuart in the 
Boston Museum of Fine Arts. 

View of Boston fbom East Boston, in 1848 

Colonnade Row, Tkemont Street, soxtth op 
West Street 

Leonard Vassall House, Summer Street, the 
SITE OP Hovet's Store .... 

House op William Gray, Corner op Summer 
AND Kingston Streets .... 

Old Beacon Hill 

From a contemporary drawing by J. B. 

Harrison Gray Otis, Third Mayor op Boston 
I^om a bust by Clavering in the possession 
of Harrison Gray Otis. 

Mrs. Rebecca Codman Butterfield when at 

Brook Farm 

From a daguerreotype. 

Nathaniel Hawthorne, in 1840 

From the painting by Charles Osgood In 
the possession of Mrs. B. C. Manning, 
Salem, Mass. 

Harriet Martineau 

Margaret Fuller. Ossoli 

From a daguerreotype. 

Dr. Orestes A. Brownson, as he looked when 
AT Brook Farm 

Charles A. Dana 

After a daguerreotype. 


Facing Page 8 







Facing Page 


€t tt 


a tt 


It (t 


tt tt 



Father Hbckbr in his prime .... 
XTom a rare photograph in the possesBlon 
of the PauUst Fathers, New Tork. 

Georoe Riplet 

Brook Farm Buildings 

From a contemporary drawing. 

A Piece op Brook Farm Scrip showing eio- 


Daniel Webster 

From a daguerreotype made by Klchards, of 
Philadelphia, about 1850. 

Daniel Webster's House which stood on the 

corner of Summer and High Streets . " " 60 

Masonic Temple, Corner of Tbemont Street 

AND Temple Place " "61 

Elizabeth Peabodt " "61 

From a portrait in the poBsession of the 
Elizabeth Peabody House, Boston. 

Old Custom House, Boston, in which Haw- 
thorne SERVED AS A YOUNG MAN . . " " 64 

South Side of Temple Place, about 1865 . " " 65 

Boston from the State House, about 1858 . " " 65 

Corner op Tremont and Brompibld Streets, 

about 1870 " "80 

Church Green " "81 

Old State House, where Garrison was 

mobbed " "81 

The Second, Third, and Fourth Headings op 
The Liberator; the pibst heading was 
plain lettering " " 100 

Dix Place, showing home op William Llotd 

Garrison " "101 

Jot Street Church, where the New England 

Anti-Slavert Society was Organized . " " id 

Holy Cross Cathedral. Channing's church 

in background " "116 

William Ellert Channing . . . . " "116 

Tremont Street, south op School Street, 

about 1850 " " 117 

Dobothea Lynde Dix " "117 

From a. dagnerreotype taken In 1858. 


Mns, William Lloyd Gakeison . . . Facing Page 117 

From a daguerreotype taken about 1852 
and In the possession ot Francis Jack- 
son Garrison. 

William Lloyd Gajrrison and Wendell 

Phillips " "128 

From a photograpli. 

Mabia Weston Chapman " "128 

A Procession on Court Street ... " " 129 

The Home op Wendell Phillips, 26 Essex 

Street " "162 

Mr. Phillips is shown just entering the 

Wendell Phillips' Study .... " " 162 

From a photograph In the possession of 
Francis Jackson Garrison. 

Frank Sanborn " "163 

From an early photograph. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson " " 163 

After the Hawes portrait. 

Dr. Samuel A. Gbeen " " 174 

From a painting by Frederic Vinton, in 
the possession of the Groton Library. 

Chakles Sumner " " 174 

Washington Street, south op Milk Street, 

IN 1858 ... " " 175 

Governor John A. Andrew .... " " 190 

From the painting by William Morris Hunt, 
in the possession of The Massachusetts 
Historical Society. 

Colonel Robert Gould Shaw .... " " 190 

From a photograph taken in 1862, in the 
possession of Mrs. George William Curtis. 

Harriet Beecjher Stowe " " 191 

From the drawing by George Bichmond, 
London, 1853, in the possession of her 
grandson, Dr. Freeman Allen, Boston. 

Mary A. Ltvermore " " 191 

Lucy Stone " "191 

Theodore Parker " "202 

From a daguerreotype. 



Theodore Pakkbr's Church in West Rox- 

Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Aet. 20 

From a crayon drawing by Eastman John- 

Thomas Wentworth Higginson as Colonel 

Facing Page 202 
" " 203 

OF THE First South Carolina Volunteers 




The City Hall of Parker's Day ■ 




Boston Music Hall, where Theodore Parker 




Old National Theatre, Portland Street . 




Howard Athen^um, showing William Flor- 
ence Posters outside .... 




Green Room of the Boston Museum , 




Foyer of the Boston Museum 




Mrs. Vincent 




William Warren ...... 

From the painting by Frederic Vinton, in 
the possession of the Boston Museum of 
Fine Arts. 




Fanny Ellsler 

From a drawing by W. K. Hewitt. 




Lorenzo Papanti 

From a painting in the possession of The 
Bostonian Society. 




Lobby of the old Globe Theatre 




Foyer of the Boston Theatre 




Wtlt.tam Morris Hunt . ... 
From a painting by himself, in the posses- 
sion of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. 




Washington Allston 




Park Square, 1870 




Park Square, 1880 




Annie Louise Gary 




Jenny Lind 




Coliseum in which the Peace Jubilee of 1869 


FiTCHBUKG Station, in the Hall of which 
Jbnnt Lind gave her final Boston 




Cabl and Pakepa Rosa . ... Facing Page 296 

From a photograph In the poasession of 
Mrs. Martha Dana Shepard, of Boston. 

Camilla Urso " "296 

From a photograph in the possession of 
Mrs. Martha Dana Shepard, of Boston. 

Adelaide Phzllips " " 296 

From a photograph In the possession of 
Mrs. Martha Dana Shepard, of Boston. 

Carl Zehrahn as Director op the Peace 

Jubilee ... . . . " " 297 

From a photograph In the possession of 
Mrs. Martha Dana Shepard, of Boston. 

Ole Bull on his first visit to America . " " 297 

From a drawing by F. O. C. Darley. 

Mrs. Harrison Gray Otis .... " " 308 

From the painting by G. P. A. Healy, in 
the possession of The Bostonian Society. 

Mrs. Julia Ward Howe " "309 

From the bust by Clevenger, In the pos- 
session of the Howe family. 

Pablor at 13 Chestnut Street in which the 

Radical Club met . . . " " 314 

Mrs. John T. Sargent, the leading spirit op 

THE Radical Club ... " " 314 

From a photograph in the poasession of 
Franklin Haven Sargent, of New York. 

Old Elm, Boston Common .... " " 315 

The Back Bat from the Public Garden, 1860 " " 315 

Bromfield House, about 1860 ... " " 320 

Old Reservoir, where the State House Ex- 
tension now stands " " 321 

Revere House ....... " "326 

Tremont House, 1870 " "326 

BowDoiN Square, and former home of Fran- 
cis Parkman " "327 

Train used in 1835 on first trip over Boston 

AND Lowell Road " "327 

Fort Hill Square in 1858 .... " " 327 

Old Trinity Church, Summer Street, about 

1870 " "332 


Phillips Brooks, Abt. 21 Facing Page 332 

From an ambrotype. 

Old Trinity Church after the Boston Fire " " 333 

Another View of the Fire Ruins . . " " 333 

Renfrew Ball in the Boston Theatre . " " 340 

Ancient and Honorable Artillery drilling 

on Brattle Street in 1858 ..." " 341 

The Late Edward VII as he looked when 

visiting Boston in 1860 .... " " 341 

From a photograph made by command of 
Queen Victoria just before the Prince 
sailed for America. 

Delia Bacon " "350 

From a daguerreotype taken In May, 1853. 

Mrs. Anne Gilchrist " " 350 

From the painting by her son, Herbert 
Harlakenden Gilchrist. 

Holmes' " The Long Path," prom Joy Street 

TO Boylston Street, on Boston Common " " 351 

Oliver Wendell Holmes in the Study of 

his Beacon Street Home ... " " 351 

Thomas Gold Appleton, the famous Boston 

Wit " "358 

From the painting by Frederic Vinton, In 
the possession of the Boston Museum of 
Fine Arts. 

Old Franklin Street, showing the rooms op 
the " Boston Library " over the arch 
at the right " " 358 

Thomas Bailey Aldrich's Home at Ponkapog " " 359 

Thomas Bailey Aldrich's Study, 59 Mt. Ver- 
non Street " " 359 

James Perkins, who gave to the A'rHEN.ffl;uM 

its early home on Pearl Street . . " " 366 

From the painting by Gilbert Stuart, in the 
possession of the Boston Athenseum. 

William Smith Shaw, First Librarian of the 

Boston Athen.s;um . . . " " 366 

From the painting by Gilbert Stuart, in the 
possession of the Boston Athenaeum. 

Charles Sumner Staircase in Boston Athe- 

N2BUM " "367 


Reading Room of the Boston Athen^um, 

Beacon Stbeet Facing Page 367 

Chables Coffin Jewbtt, Fikst Stipehintend- 

ent op the Boston Public Libkabt . " " 374 

Bates Hall, Reading Room in the old Boston 

Public Librajbt . . . . . " " 374 

The old Ticknor and Fields Bookstore, 

Washington and School Streets . . " " 375 

James T. Fields " "375 

Henry Clay Barnabee " " 388 

Charlotte Cushman " " 388 

John Boyle O'Reilly " "389 

From a photograph by Chlckerlng In the 
possession of Miss Mary Boyle O'Reilly. 

Archbishop Williams " " 389 

From a painting by Frederic Vinton, In the 
Archiepiscopal Besldence, Boston. 




IT was a very charming, comfortable old 
town — this Boston of uncrowded shops 
and untroubled self-respect which, in 1822, 
reluctantly allowed itself to be made into a 
city. For not lightly nor impetuously was the 
old plan of town government abandoned. 
Though the venerable John Adams, " the man 
of the town meeting," had generously set aside 
his own personal predilections and had cast a 
ballot (in 1820) for an amendment to the State 
Constitution that should enable freemen in 
large municipalities to delegate to represent- 
atives " the privileges of voting supplies," 
many there were — Josiah Quincy among them 
— who so firmly believed that the town-meeting 
form was peculiarly suited to the character of 
the people of New England that they resisted 


with all the power they possessed the impending 

Yet the time for this change had certainly 
come. Quincy himself, in his Municipal History 
of The Town and City of Boston (written after the 
struggle had long been ended), amply justifies 
the step : " When a town-meeting," he says, 
" was held on any exciting subject in Faneuil 
Hall those only who obtained places near the 
moderator could even hear the discussion. A few 
busy or interested individuals easily obtained the 
management of the most important affairs in an 
assembly in which the greater number could 
have neither voice nor hearing. When the 
subject was not generally exciting town-meet- 
ings were usually composed of the selectmen, 
the town officers and thirty or forty inhabitants. 
Those who thus came were, for the most part, 
drawn to it from some official duty or private 
interest, which when performed or attained, 
they generally troubled themselves but little 
or not at all about the other business of the 
meeting. In assemblies thus composed, by- 
laws were passed, taxes to the amount of one 
hundred or one hundred and fifty thousand 
dollars voted on statements often general in 
their nature, and on reports, as it respects the 
majority of voters present, taken upon trust, 
and which no one had carefully considered 
except, perhaps, the chairman." 


None the less, when the subject of adoptilig a 
city charter was brought before a " special 
meeting of the inhabitants " (in January, 1822), 
the vote on the test proposition " that the name 
of ' Town of Boston ' should be changed to 
'City of Boston'" was very close — only two 
thousand seven hundred and twenty-seven in 
the aflBrmative against two thousand and eighty- 
seven in the negative. The number of qualified 
voters at this time was between seven and eight 
thousand, about one-sixth of the total popu- 
lation, which, according to the national census 
of 1820, was forty -three thousand two hundred 
and ninety-eight. 

It is interesting just here to observe how 
slowly Boston had increased in population 
during the past thirty years and to contrast 
this with its increase after the city charter was 
taken out. In 1790 the population of the town, 
including the people settled on the islands in 
the harbor, was 18,320. From 1790 to 1800 
the increase was 6,617 or 36.11%; from 1800 
to 1810, the increase was 8,850 or 35.48%; 
from 1810 to 1820 the increase was 9,511 or 
28.14%. During the decade marked by the 
change in the form of government, however, 
the increase was nearly double that of the ten 
years preceding. 

Happily, there was now beginning to be room 
for an increased population. Nathaniel Inger- 


soil Bowditch, who in his Gleaner papers 
characterizes Mr. Uriah Cotting as the " Chief 
Benefactor of Boston," appears to have been 
well within the facts of the case. For Mr. 
Cotting, as the projector of the Roxbury Mill 
Corporation by whose " gigantic enterprise " 
the Mill Dam was built, really made it possible 
for Boston to grow. This undertaking drew 
in its train a series of constructions by which 
alone the town has been enabled to become a 
great city. 

The charter which led to this complete change 
in the town's physical conformation was passed 
in 1814. In the early summer of 1821 the Mill 
Dam was finished and opened for travel. 
Upon the granting of the charter the Daily 
Advertiser printed a communication signed 
"Beacon Street" which began as follows: 
" Citizens of Boston! Have you ever visited 
the Mall; have you ever inhaled the Western 
breeze, fragrant with perfume, refreshing every 
sense and invigorating every nexve? What 
think you of converting the beautiful sheet of 
water which skirts the Common into an empty 
mud-basin, reeking with filth, abhorrent to 
the smell, and disgusting to the eye.? By 
every god of sea, lake or fountain it is in- 
credible!" By 1821, however, the same paper 
is printing the following praise of this very 
project: "The road over the Boston and Rox- 


bury Mill-Dam was opened for passengers for 
the first time yesterday morning when a caval- 
cade of one hundred citizens and upwards, 
headed by General Sumner and Major Dean, 
passed over. . . . General Sumner in a per- 
tinent address took occasion to advert to the 
magnitude of the undertaking the completion 
of which they were met to celebrate. . . . He 
reverted to the position of Boston thirty-four 
years ago when there was only one passage 
from the peninsula to the main. ' It was then,' 
he said, ' our town resembled a hand but it was 
a, closed one. It is now open and well spread. 
Charlestown, Cambridge, South Boston and 
Craigie's Bridges have added each a finger, 
and lately our enterprising citizens have joined 
the firm and substantial thumb over which we 
now ride." 

Thus it was quite a sizable territory over 
which John Phillips was elected mayor in 1822. 
Phillips had already served Boston as public 
prosecutor, as a member of the House and 
Senate of Massachusetts and as judge of the 
Court of Common Pleas. But it was to his 
charm of manner and to his " pliable disposi- 
tion " rather than to his previous public serv- 
ices that he owed his election as first mayor 
of Boston. For Harrison Gray Otis and Josiah 
Quincy had both been in the lists with him 
and had only withdrawn their names because 


of the nomination, at the last moment, of a 
third candidate, Robert C. Winthrop, the 
presence of whose name on the ticket had made 
it impossible for either of them to carry the 
" majority of all votes " necessary for a choice. 
Phillips, therefore, came in as a compromise 
candidate; but he oflf ended so few people 
that he would undoubtedly have been speedily 
re-elected, upon the expiration of his term, had 
not ill health made him refuse to run again. 

Thus it was that the real task of " moulding 
the city " fell rather to the second mayor than 
to the first. Josiah Quincy, who was elected 
when Mayor Phillips retired, has left such an 
impress upon the government of Boston that 
he is generally called the city's great mayor. 
One reason for this is that he did many things 
during his six years of office. Another is that 
he had the chance and the ability to let pos- 
terity know about his activities. For it rarely 
happens that a mayor has so good an oppor- 
tunity to tell just what was accomplished during 
his administration as Mr. Quincy made and 
improved when he published in 1852 his Mu- 
nicipal History of The Town And City of Bos- 
ton. More than three-quarters of this book 
are devoted to an account of what was done 
during the six years when its author was mayor! 
But one should have no quarrel with the book or 
with its hero on that account. So many and 


such important things were done. In Mayor 
Quincy there was no over-cautious and timid 
reference to public opinion with its attendant 
shrinking from responsibility. He found many 
reforms needed and he manfully set himself 
to bring them about. Street begging was almost 
entirely suppressed during his time, admirable 
measures for the relief and care of the poor 
were introduced, a new market-house (Quincy 
Market) was erected and the city was so 
effectually cleansed that a striking alteration 
was observable in the mortality reports. Where 
one in forty -two had died during the ten years 
before 1823, during the last three years of 
Mr. Quincy's administration the mortality was 
but one in fifty-seven! It has indeed passed 
almost into a proverb that Boston had never 
had clean streets before this time, — and has 
never had them since. Moreover, this energetic 
mayor reorganized the fire department and the 
police guardians, thus making the city a safe 
and a peaceful place of residence. So orderly 
was the conduct of the citizens that twenty- 
four constables and eighty watchmen (of whom 
never more than eighteen were outt at a 
time) were enough to make everybody in 
Boston quite at ease concerning their lives and 
property. It is Mayor Quincy, also, that we 
must thank for planting the splendid trees on 
the Charles street mall of the Common; and 


it was during his administration (in 1824) that 
the Public Garden was created by Samuel E. 
Guild on what had been an unsightly beach of 
salt mud on the western side of Charles Street. 
As Chairman of the School Committee, how- 
ever, Mayor Quincy took a stand which has 
caused him to be greatly criticized by women 
writers. Up to 1825 there had been very scanty 
provision in Boston for the education of girls 
at the public expense, and this discrimination 
against women led Rev. John Pierpont, then 
Secretary of the School Committee, to propose 
the establishment in the city of a High School 
for Girls. He gave as his reason for doing this 
" general expediency and to make an object of 
ambition and profitable employment for three 
years of life now inadequately occupied." The 
resulting school was such a success that Mayor 
Quincy voted its — abandonment. Though 
the cost for each pupil was only eleven dollars 
a year, Mr. Quincy seems to have felt that, in 
too many cases, this appropriation would be 
employed for the education of wealthy girls 
whose parents could send them to private 
schools, and would if there were no public 
high school. " The standard of public educa- 
tion," he said, " should be raised to the greatest 
desirable and practicable height; but it should 
be effected by raising the standard of the com- 
mon schools." Boston, it is thus clear, was 


From, the painting hu Oilhert Stuart in the Boston Museum of Fine 

Arlx. ■ f 





by no means ready yet to provide higher 
education for the poorer classes. There was 
a great hue and cry because many young Irish 
girls, who had entered the High School and 
proved to be fine scholars, were unwilling, 
after enjoying this taste of culture, to become 
domestic servants. Public opinion was very 
strong on this issue. For the first time, we 
catch a glimpse of that anti-Irish-Catholic 
feeling which culminated in the burning of the 
Ursuline Convent in 1834. 

During Mr. Quincy's second term he had the 
honor of receiving and entertaining General 
Lafayette, who was made the guest of the city 
and was sumptuously entertained in the build- 
ing at the corner of Park and Beacon Streets, 
later known as the home of George Ticknor. 
I have elsewhere ^ described in detail the events 
of this visit of Washington's friend; suffice 
it here, therefore, merely to say that the General 
was escorted (Tuesday, August 22, 1824) to the 
city limits from Roxbury by Governor Eustis 
and by him presented to Mayor Quincy, with 
whom he proceeded through streets resplendent 
with the French and American flags and spanned 
at intervals with arches bearing diverse patriotic 
mottoes and inscriptions giving glad Welcome 
TO Lafatette. 

One incident which took place as the pro- 

* Among Old New Englarid Inns, p. 356 et seq. 


cession moved up Tremont Street towards 
Boylston is too picturesque not to be told here 
once again. Amid the throngs of people who 
crowded the windows and steps of the houses 
on Colonnade Row the keen-eyed old soldier 
perceived, on a balcony, the face of Madame 
Scott, whom he had known well as the wife of 
pompous Governor Hancock. She had been his 
hostess away back in 1781 in the elegant Han- 
cock mansion on Beacon Street, and though 
Time had wrought many changes in her piquant 
face and figure, he instantly recognized her and, 
with the inborn courtesy of a Frenchman, 
directed his conveyance to stop in front of the 
place where she sat, and rising, with his hand 
placed over his heart, made a graceful obeisance 
which was gracefully returned. Then the old 
lady burst into tears and exclaimed, " I have 
lived long enough." 

Another charming feature of the festival was 
the singing of the Marseillaise by a throng of 
schoolchildren on the Common, of whom Wen- 
dell Phillips, then a fourteen year old lad, was one. 

The original letter in which Lafayette an- 
nounced his intended visit to Boston may be 
found in the manuscript collection of the Boston 
Public Library. It reads: 

Albany, June 12, 1825. 
My Dear Sir: — -.Thus far I am come to redeem my 
sacred and most cordial pledge: We shall reach Boston 


on the fifteenth : I will tell you between us that I have 
been informed the legislature intend to receive the tribute 
of my personal respects in which case it becomes proper 
for me to be arrived two days before the Bunker Hill 
Ceremony. As, to what I am to do I cannot do better 
than to refer myself to your friendly advices and shall 
happily offer you and family my most affectionate grateful 
respects. Lafayette. 

I would have been very happy to celebrate with you* 
the Fourth of July, but am obliged to set out on the 
twentieth to visit the States of Maine, New Hampshire 
and Vermont and will proceed down the north river to 
New York, then to Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington 
and the seat of the [manuscript illegible] Virginia expedi- 
tion so as to embark on the fifteenth August. 

Mr. Quinct, Mayor of Boston. 

On the day before his departure from Boston 
the general dined in a marquee on the Common 
with twelve hundred people, probably the 
largest number ever seated at a single dinner 
table in New England. On a previous day a 
dinner of ceremony was given him at the 
Exchange Coffee House on State and Congress 
Streets, not the magnificent building erected 
by Charles Bulfinch in 1808, but the less pre- 
tentious structure put up on the same site 
when that stately edifice had burned. Among 
the toasts on this occasion was the following 

' Mr. Quincy's bouse at this time was on Hamilton Place, num- 
ber 1. 


oflfered by General Lafayette: " The City of 
Boston, the Cradle of Liberty, May Faneuil 
Hall ever stand a monument to teach the world 
that resistance to oppression is a duty, and 
will, under true republican institutions, become 
a blessing." 

The simple social traditions of a community 
as yet uncomplicated either by a large foreign 
population or by divisive questions such as the 
anti-slavery conflict was soon to introduce is 
reflected in the accounts of this entertainment 
of Lafayette. Boston at this period was a 
veritable garden city and Summer Street was a 
delightful avenue which well merited its n^ame. 
Here earlier in the century had been the resi- 
dences of Joseph Barrell, Benjamin Bussey and 
Governor James Sullivan, whose house at this 
time belonged to William R. Gray. Natha,niel 
Goddard, Henry Hill and David Ellis were 
among his neighbors. 

Other famous old gardens on Summer Street 
and in its vicinity had been those of Edmund 
Quincy, which ran back to Bedford Street; and 
Judge Jackson's on the corner of Bedford and 
Chauncy Streets. Magnificent trees skirted the 
entire length of the street, overarching the 
driveway with interlacing branches so that one 
walked or rode as within a grove in a light 
softened by a leafy screen. Here, at the inter- 
section of Bedford and Summer Streets was 

Page 12. 


From a contemporary draicing Zjy J. R. Smith. 


Church Green set off by an edifice (erected in 
1814) of Bulfinch design whose spire towered to 
a height of one hundred and ninety feet from 
the foundation. "As late as 1815," declares 
Drake, " there was a pasture of two acres in 
Summer Street, and the tinkling of cowbells 
was by no means an unusual sound there. 
The hospitable residents could set before their 
guests cider of their own manufacture or butter 
from their own dairies." One very beautiful 
old place which belongs in this category was that 
(on the site now covered by Hovey's store) 
long known as the Vassall House and occupied 
later by the family of Frederick Geyer. At 
the wedding here of Nancy W. Geyer, who 
married Rufus G. Amory (in 1794), the Duke of 
Kent, son of George II. and father of the late 
Queen Victoria, was present as a guest.' 

Harrison Gray Otis succeeded Mr. Quincy as 
mayor in 1829. An authentic picture of the 
social life of Boston during his administration 
is derived from the Boston correspondence 
published in the New York Mirror, where, 
under date of April, 1831, the writer, who 
appears to have been pining for the freer 
ether of New York, laments the lack of public 
places of amusement in Boston. To be sure, 
he admits, " the gallery of the Athenaeum 
exhibition of paintings is crowded with beauty 

" Drake. 


a week or two in the summer; and our prom- 
enade place, Washington Street, for a couple of 
hours every fair day is very proper for loungers 
and ladies. There are, too, occasional concerts 
during the winter that attract genteel audiences, 
and once in a twelvemonth some distinguished 
singer or tragedian may fill the boxes of the 

" But this absence of public amusements," 
concedes the correspondent, " is accounted for 
and in some measure compensated by the nature 
of our private society and the number of balls, 
parties and lectures which comfortably occupy 
the whole compass of the week." It was a very 
lavish hospitality, too, which was exercised in 
these Boston homes. That trade with the 
East which was to bring wealth to so many 
families of the new city had now been estab- 
lished for some years, and quaint silken hangings, 
porcelain, jade and carvings, treasures of teak- 
wood and bronze from Canton and Hong Kong 
formed the effective background of elegant 
receptions and sumptuous feasts. 

The first American to reach China after the 
Revolution was Major Samuel Shaw of Boston, 
whose romantic career I traced somewhat in the 
book preceding this.' His post was that of 
supercargo, — one whose duty it was to sell the 
outward cargo and buy another to be taken 

'■ See Old Boston Days and Ways. 


back, — and his name belongs at the head of 
the long list of men, chiefly from Boston, who, 
in this capacity, did honor to their native town 
and made fortunes for their descendants. A 
very famous house of this kind, which dates 
from January 1, 1824, was that known as Russell 
and Company, one early member of which was 
John Murray Forbes, in whose Personal Remi- 
niscences may be found a fund of romantic 
material concerning the life and labors in 
China of many an enterprising young Bos- 
tonian. India Wharf, designed in 1808, by 
Charles Bulfinch, was the Boston headquarters 
of Russell and Company, and so important was 
the trade there conducted that in 1844, when 
the harbor froze over from the wharves to 
Boston Light and a channel was cut through 
the ice at an expense of thousands of dollars, 
to open the water from the Cunard Dock at 
East Boston, a connecting branch of it was 
extended to India Wharf for the benefit of the 
ships operated by the India Wharf Proprietors. 
From first to last there were forty-eight mem- 
bers in the firm of Russell and Company, and 
when account is taken of the fact that these 
men not only lived in China a portion of the 
time but also on some occasions had their wives 
and daughters there for short visits, it will be 
seen that no formative influence was of greater 
importance to Boston than the organization 


of this wealthy and highly successful firm. 
There were many Bostonians, before the middle 
of the nineteenth century, who could talk of 
the East as intelligently as Kipling does now 
and could echo feelingly Mr. Forbes' verses, 

" Know ye the land where the bamboo and queue are — " 

and ending 

" Where the flowers have no smell and no flavor the 
And 'tis stupid to talk and there's nothing to shoot; 

Where the earth is burnt mud and the sky is all blaze. 
Where the dew is death-fog and the air is red haze? 

'Tis the land of the East; 'tis the region of curry 
That slowly we come to and leave in a hurry. 

Know ye the land? My good friend, if you do. 
By the Lord, I don't envy you; I know it too! " 

Though Harrison Gray Otis was one of the 
India Wharf Proprietors, he was never a member 
of the firm of Russell and Company. He seems 
indeed to have ceased active efforts to accumu- 
late wealth, some time before this firm was 
organized, and his name was now hedged about 
almost with divinity. For instance, on the 
day fixed for the organization of the city gov- 
ernment of 1830 he sent word that he was 
ill and invited the members of the city council 
to assemble at his private residence, 42 Beacon 
Street, for the purpose of being qualified for 


office. Though this was quite unprecedented, 
no one thought of questioning the propriety 
of holding a municipal inauguration in such a 
place; an invitation from an Otis was equal to 
a command. It is altogether likely, too, that 
the city fathers greatly enjoyed themselves on 
this occasion, for Otis was a charming enter- 
tainer and his fine old mansion house _ffiith_its- 
three beautiful rooms en suite and decorated 
with pictures by Copley, Blackburn and Smi- 
bert were of the sort not accessible to all the 
men in the city government. Samuel Brack 
hazards the guess that at this time Otis was 
spending about ten thousand dollars a year 
upon the conduct of his household, though 
he adds that twenty -five years earlier " he told 
me that the utmost extent of his desires as to 
riches was to be worth ten thousand dollars." 
The universal opinion seems to have been that 
the first Harrison Gray Otis was unsurpassed 
in dress, equipage, entertainment and manners. 
" He always reminded me," says Augustus T. 
Perkins, who wrote his biographical memoir, 
" of a fine old French nobleman, one of those 
we read of as uniting wit with learning and 
great eloquence with profound acquirements." 
Associated with Harrison Gray Otis in the 
social chronicles of the time is the name of 
Emily Marshall, the great Boston beauty, 
who married the mayor's son, William Foster 


Otis, on May 18, 1831, and who died at the 
Beacon Street home of her father-in-law August 
17, 1836, aged only twenty-nine. Emily Mar- 
shall was the daughter of Josiah Marshall, who 
lived on Franklin Street, during the twen- 
ties and thirties, and for her social charm no 
less than for her beauty she became very re- 
nowned. It is said that the hackmen who 
served her were so spellbound with admiration 
that they forgot to open the door of her car- 
riage, and at a Fair gotten up by the ladies of 
Boston, in 1833, to benefit the building fund 
of the Perkins Institution for the Blind she 
personally took in $2,000 at her table, — so 
great was her vogue. The late Mrs. Samuel 
Eliot of Brimmer Street was the daughter of 
this famous beauty, the charm of whose features 
is hinted at but not adequately expressed in 
the well-known portrait by Chester Harding, 
still in the possession of the family. There was 
a time when it was "the thing" in Boston 
society to write acrostic sonnets to Emily 
Marshall. One of these, from the pen of N. P. 
Willis, runs as follows: 

" Elegance floats about ttee like a dress, 
Melting the airy motion of thy form 
Into one swaying grace; and loveliness. 
Like a rich tint that makes a picture warm, 
Is lurking in the chestnut of thy tress, 
Enriching it, as moonlight after storm 


Mingles dark shadows into gentleness. 
A beauty that bewilders like a spell 
Reigns in thine eyes' clear hazel; and thy brow 
So pure in veined transparency doth tell 
How spiritually beautiful art thou — 
A temple where angelic love might dwell. 
Life in thy presence were a thing to keep, 
Like a gay dreamer clinging to his sleep." 

Merely to be seen in the company of this 
beauty gave one a chance of immortahty. 
Quincy in his Figures of the Past speaks of 
seeing " Beau Watson " walking (in 1821) on 
the Dover Street Bridge, then a favorite prom- 
enade place, with the fair Emily, who must then 
have been a girl in her teens. " Beau " Wat- 
son later came to be no less a person than the 
Rev. John Lee Watson, D. D., assistant minister 
of Trinity Church. 

Under Mayor Otis Boston introduced mu- 
nicipal concerts on the Common, the project 
being engineered by the Society for the Sup- 
pression of Intemperance, who declared that 
" such a practice would have in their judgment 
a tendency to promote order and suppress an 
inclination to riot and intemperance." This 
same year (1830) cows were excluded from the 
Common. Ever since 1660 rights of pasturage 
on this public ground had been enjoyed by 
certain householders, but latterly the kine had 
not been invariably respectful to the ladies, 


and Mayor Otis, who was nothing if not gallant, 
signed their decree of banishment. It was also 
under Harrison Gray Otis, and upon his recom- 
mendation, that the Old State House was so 
altered as to provide accommodation for the 
mayor, aldermen, common council and other 
city oflacers. 

So far all the mayors had been aristocrats 
addicted to an elegant mode of life and a 
magnificent manner of doing things. As a 
kind of protest against them and their ways 
Charles Wells was now (1832) put in as the 
representative of the middle classes. He served 
without distinction and, after two years, was 
succeeded by Theodore Lyman, Jr., whose 
term of oflice will always be associated 
(though perhaps through no fault of his) with 
two of the most disgraceful affairs ever per- 
petrated in an American city. The first of 
these culminated in the burning of the Ur- 
suline Convent in Charlestown (now Somer- 
ville) on the night of August 11, 1834. The 
other, treated at length in the chapter devoted 
to the rise of the Anti-slavery Movement, 
came in the same month of the following 

Adequately to tell the story of " The Burning 
of the Convent " would take much more space 
than I can here command. Besides, it has 
recently (August 29, 1909) been very beauti- 


fully toldi by Miss Mary Boyle O'Keilly, 
daughter of the poet, who has made a special 
study of the subject. Miss O'Reilly attributes 
the ugly spirit which fired the building on 
Mount Benedict to labor troubles in the first 
place, and to an injudicious sermon preached 
by Rev. Lyman Beecher in the second. A 
quarter of a million Irish had landed in America 
between 1830-1835, and as ten thousand of 
these had settled in Boston they naturally 
displaced a large number of native workmen. 
These men resented the coming of the immi- 
grants and caught eagerly at any opportunity 
which should oflfer to " put them down." 
They found their occasion in a kind of penny- 
dreadful, published as the work of a girl who 
had been a member of the nuns' community, 
the same production which supplied Lyman 
Beecher with his text. And the preacher's 
inflammatory words, in turn, served to give 
specious authority to the acts of these sore- 
headed truckmen who had constituted them- 
selves the " defenders " of Boston against the 
corrupting (?) influence of a little band of nuns 
whose sole offence seems to have been that they 
were offering rare and very precious educa- 
tional opportunities to the girls of eastern New 
England. The truckmen had given notice, 
on wretchedly printed posters scattered through- 

1 In the Boston Globe. 


out the city, that they would demolish the 
nunnery on a certain date, and there seems to 
have been no reason — except that of criminal 
negligence — for the failure of the authorities 
to have a stout guard on duty that night at the 
convent. No wonder five thousand good Bos- 
ton citizens assembled in Faneuil Hall (after 
the damage was done ! ) to protest against what 
they might well call " an unparalleled outrage." 
But though such men as Robert C. Winthrop, 
William Appleton, Theophilus Parsons, David 
Child, Nathan Appleton and many more signed 
a paper and 

Resolved, That in the opinion of the citizens of Boston 
the late attack on the UrsuHne convent, in Charlestown, 
occupied only by defenceless females, was a base and 
cowardly act, for which the perpetrators deserve the 
contempt and detestation of the community. 

Resolved, That the destruction of property and the 
danger of life caused thereby calls loudly on all good citi- 
zens to express individually and collectively the abhor- 
rence they feel in this high-handed violation of the laws. 

Resolved, That we, the Protestant citizens of Boston, 

do pledge ourselves, collectively and individually, to 

unite with our Catholic brethren in protecting their 

persons, their property and their civil and religious rights. 

Theodore Lyman, Jr., Chairman. 

Fanedil Hall, Aug. 12, 2 p. m., 1834. 

no judgment was ever brought in against those 
who committed the nefarious deed and no 
indemnity was ever paid to the poor nuns 


who had been made " the innocent victims of a 
public calamity." Obviously the new city of 
Boston had still much to learn about justice 
and effective government. 


BBOOK farm: an essay in socialism 

NOT a single Brook Farmer was ever 
known to admit that this experiment 
in communism was not a success. Even 
Dana and Hawthorne and George William 
Curtis bore testimony, years afterwards, that 
they had passed in this Arcady, nine miles 
from Boston's Beacon Hill, some of the hap- 
piest days of their lives and had brought away 
from their sojourn there an enduring impulse 
to high and noble things. 

The only Brook Farmer with whom I have 
had an opportunity to talk (almost all who were 
members of the community have now passed 
away) is Mrs. Rebecca Codman Butterfield, a 
lady of eighty-five, who spent five years of her 
young womanhood at the community and who 
today speaks of it with the utmost enthusiasm 
and with a deep glow of reminiscent happiness 
in her still fine dark eyes. " My husband was 
a Brook Farmer, too," she said proudly, " one 
of the printers of the Harbinger, the organ of 
the movement, and we used often to say, after 


our children began to come, that we wished 
ardently that it were possible for us to give them 
anything like what we had got at Brook Farm. 
It was a place where the humblest could fulfil 
their deepest aspirations. The cobbler was a 
fine Shakespeare scholar, and Mr. Ripley loved 
above everything to work in the barn with the 
animals. Mrs. Ripley used to wash hours at a 
time, and I recall that when one particularly 
disagreeable piece of work on the place had to 
be done volunteers were called for, with the 
result that two of the finest young men of the 
community accomplished a ' drainman ' chofe 
one night while the rest of us slept." 

Mrs. Butterfield's brother, Dr. John Thomas 
Codman, has written in Historic and Personal 
Memoirs of Brook Farm the only long account 
of the community's ups and downs ever put out 
by one who had intimately shared its life. 
Ripley would have been the natural person to 
write such a story and there is reason to believe 
that he contemplated doing so. But the work 
was never done, perhaps because the whole 
thing meant so much more to him than it could 
possibly have meant to anybody else. 

Carlyle described Ripley, who once called on 
him in England, as " A Socinian minister, who 
had left the pulpit to reform the world by cul- 
tivating onions." This gibe always makes me 
hate Carlyle; Ripley's essay in brotherhood 


was so heroic without at all meaning to be! 
That Ripley had a pulpit which he was glad to 
abandon is true; he found himself (in 1840) 
far from comfortable in his Purchase Street 
Church and took counsel with the members of 
the Transcendental Club, so-called, to see 
whether it might be possible " to bring culti- 
vated, thoughtful people together, and make a 
society that deserved the name." There is 
mention, in this connection, of a conference at 
the house of Dr. John C. Warren, which ended 
" with an oyster supper crowned by excellent 
wines." One does not wonder, after hearing 
the setting for his appeal, that the ex-minister 
did not win many converts that night and that 
all his hearers found themselves with other 
things to do. 

Even Emerson, when approached in the 
matter, replied negatively, giving as his frank 
reason for so doing that investments in Concord 
were securer than they were likely to be at 
Brook Farm. (Later, he compared Brook Farm 
to " a French Revolution in small.") Yet his 
refusal seems to have been due less to disin- 
clination to venture his money than to his 
inherent dislike of organization, and to his 
exaggerated reverence for his own selfhood. 
A discerning woman once said that it would not 
be difficult to confess to Mr. Emerson, " but 
that he would be shocked at the proposition 


to take charge of even one soul." Certainly 
he shrank, almost with horror, from the as- 
sociative life implied in the Brook Farm proposi- 
tion, though, all the while, the idealist in him 
gave the movement secret encouragement and 

Mr. Kipley had already in mind the spot upon 
which to try his experiment, for, in the summer 
of 1840, he and his wife had boarded at a 
pleasant milk-farm in West Roxbury through 
which a little brook ran cheerfully down to the 
Charles River near by, and in which he found 
many of the possibilities he sought. They had 
left the place full of eagerness to return and 
carry out what had become their dearest wish: 
a movement " to insure a more natural union 
between intellectual and manual labor than 
exists; to combine the thinker and the worker 
as far as possible in the same individual; to 
guarantee the highest mental freedom by pro- 
viding all with labor adapted to their tastes and 
talents, and securing to them the fruits of their 
industry; to do away with the necessity of 
menial services by opening the benefits of 
education and the profits of labor to all; and 
thus to prepare a society of liberal, intelligent 
and cultivated persons, whose relations with 
each other would permit a more wholesome 
and simple life than can be led amidst the 
pressure of our competitive institutions." 


The means to this end were set forth as the 
cultivation of a garden, a farm, and the estab- 
lishment thereon of a school or college in which 
the most complete instruction should be given 
from the first rudiments to the highest culture. 
Thirty thousand dollars, it was decided, would 
supply land and buildings for ten families 
and allow a sufficient margin to cover the first 
year's expenses. This sum Ripley proposed 
to raise by forming a joint-stock company 
among those who were friendly to his enterprise, 
each subscriber to be guaranteed a fixed interest, 
and the subscriptions to be secured by the real 

The first step towards the < execution of the 
project was the purchase (in the winter of 
1840-1) of Brook Farm by Ripley himself, he 
taking the responsibility of its management and 
success. Never did a man more conscientiously 
discharge an obligation! Every debt was paid 
off by him even when he himself was obliged 
to work at a wretched wage for the money with 
which to do this. The business arrangements of 
the enterprise, from its hopeful beginning to 
its saddened end, are carefully traced by Lindsay 
Swift in one chapter of his charming volume. 
Brook Farm, its Members, Scholars and Vis- 
itors. Suffice it here, therefore, merely to say 
that, in the spring of 1841, one third of the 
necessary amount was actually paid in, and the 


nucleus of the community took possession of 
the farm-house which, with a large barn, was 
already on the estate. 

In Ripley's mind, and in the minds of the 
more thoughtful of those who began the ex- 
periment with him, the idea of Brook Farm was 
not at all, as has been generally supposed, to 
secure an idyllic retreat for a favored few, but 
to express belief in the brotherhood of man and 
to proclaim through community life faith in the 
possibility of realizing this belief. George P. 
Bradford, who was of the original family, has 
(in his chapter of the Memorial History of 
Boston) expressed the plan thus: "The move- 
ment was one form of the strong and rising 
feeling of humanity and of the brotherhood of 
man, then so widely pervading the community. 
With it, too, came the desire and hope for better 
conditions of life in which the less fortunate 
classes might come to share in the privileges, 
comforts, and various advantages belonging to 
civilized society. The feeling which at this 
time manifested itself in an excited form in the 
anti-slavery agitation may indirectly have had 
some effect in suggesting or stimulating this 
movement. Mr. Ripley and others with him, 
while sympathizing with the objects of the 
Abolitionists, thought that as the evils of which 
slavery is so signal and conspicuous a form lay 
deep in the present constitution and arrange- 


ment of society, so their remedy could only be 
found in a modification or radical change of 
ordinary life. 

" The feeling, then, which lay at the bottom 
of the Brook Farm enterprise, and from which 
it mainly sprang, was dissatisfaction with the 
existing conditions of society, — that under 
these some classes enjoy the advantages of high 
culture and the gratification of the intellect 
and taste, and if obliged to work in some way 
for subsistence they yet have leisure and oppor- 
tunity for refined recreation and for the enjoy- 
ment of comfortable or elegant modes of living, 
and are in some respects subject to more favor- 
able moral influences; while, under these also, 
other classes are doomed to wearisome or painful 
drudgery and incessant toil, without oppor- 
tunity for the enjoyment of intellect and taste, 
confined to dreary, squalid conditions of exist- 
ence, and more exposed to temptations at least 
to the more flagrant crimes. Then, again, there 
was the feeling that there is something wrong 
in the mode of industry as now constituted, 
namely, competitive industry; ... in which 
one man's gain is another man's loss, and the 
necessities of which make it the interest of 
each to get away from others and to appropriate 
to himself as large a share as possible of this 
world's goods, — a condition of things seemingly 
so contrary to the spirit of Christian brother- 


hood. Consequently a mode of life was de- 
sired ... in which this evil condition of the 
relations of society might be corrected." 

It would seem from the above-quoted state- 
ment that the ideals which inspired the move- 
ment were nothing more or less than those 
embodied in what we are today calling 
" Christian Socialism," one of whose disciples 
has put the thing thus succinctly: " If manual 
labor is a blessing, not a curse, I want my part of 
it; if it is a curse, not a blessing, I ought to take 
my turn." ^ Of course, there were other and 
more superficial motives inciting to an interest in 
the enterprise and a desire to have a part in it. 
The prospect of a pleasant social life, with 
congenial society, somewhat free from distaste- 
ful conventions, moved some. Others were 
attracted by the idea of a life of mingled physical 
and intellectual labor as exhilarating and health- 
ful. And young women, especially, to whom in 
that day comparatively few interesting occupa- 
tions were open, hailed eagerly the opportunity 
thus afforded to earn a living amid congenial 

Hawthorne was one of the first to embrace 
community life at Brook Farm, and in what 
has come to be known as the epic of the place, 
The Blithedale Romance, he analyzes with 
characteristic acumen the psychology of his 

1 Vida D. Scudder in A Listener In Bahd. 


co-laborers for the common good, — " our little 
army of saints and martyrs," as he rather 
scathingly calls them. " They were mostly 
individuals who had gone through such an 
experience as to disgust them with ordinary 
pursuits, but who were not yet so old, nor had 
suffered so deeply, as to lose their faith in the 
better time to come. On comparing their 
minds, one with another, they often discovered 
that this idea of a Community had been growing 
up, in silent and unknown sympathy, for years. 
Thoughtful, strongly lined faces were among 
them; sombre brows, but eyes that did not 
require spectacles, unless prematurely dimmed 
by the student's lamplight, and hair that 
seldom showed a thread of silver. Age, wedded 
to the past, incrusted over with a stony layer 
of habits and retaining nothing fluid in its 
possibilities, would have been absurdly out of 
place in an enterprise like this. Youth, too, 
in its early dawn, was hardly more adapted to 
our purpose; . . . We had very young people 
with us it is true, — downy lads, rosy girls in 
their first teens and children of all heights 
above one's knee, — but these had chiefly been 
sent thither for education, which it was one of 
the objects and methods of our institution 
to supply. Then we had boarders, from town 
and elsewhere, who lived with us in a familiar 
way, sympathized more or less in our theories 


and sometimes shared in our labors. On the 
whole it was a society such as has seldom 
met together, ..." 

It was indeed. And nothing about it was 
more anomalous than the presence in it as a 
regular Community member of Nathaniel Haw- 
thorne, poet and romancer. His deciding 
motive in joining the enterprise does not 
appear; but it seems more than possible 
that he was himself among those in whom 
recent experience of the world had awakened 
" disgust," for he had just severed his relation 
with the Boston Custom House, and it was with 
the thousand dollars that he had saved from his 
government earnings that he purchased shares 
18 and 19 of the Association stock. He arrived 
in the midst of one of those late spring snow- 
storms, " which, as Lindsay Swift says, ' never 
fail to impress a New Englander with their 
unseasonableness, though they are as invariable 
as the solstices.' " 

To set out on such an untoward April day 
for an adventure in Arcady might well give 
any man pause. Hawthorne superbly voices 
the reflections such a situation would engender: 
" The greatest obstacle to being heroic is the 
doubt whether one may not be going to prove 
oneself a fool; the truest heroism is to resist 
the doubt; and the profoundest wisdom to 
know when it ought to be resisted, and when to 


be obeyed." There is a life philosophy for you, 
apropos of an April snowstorm ! And the para- 
graph — in The Blithedale Romance — which 
immediately follows this one, and describes as 
only an artist in words could that long-ago 
snowstorm and the way in which its exhilara- 
tions and its buffets reacted upon the sensitized 
mind of our tyro in altruism, is a masterly 
piece of writing. Then comes this, — and it 
is the crux of the matter: "Whatever else I 
may repent of, however, let it be reckoned 
neither among my sins nor follies that I once 
had faith and force enough to form generous 
hopes of the world's destiny, — yes ! — and to 
do what in me lay for their accomplishment." 

Hawthorne's immediate duty, at Brook Farm, 
was " to play chambermaid to a cow." At 
any rate that is the way he put the thing after 
he had tired of it. At first the scenery delighted 
him and he evinced considerable enthusiasm 
over his tasks. In a letter to his sister Louisa 
he wrote, " This is one of the most beautiful 
places I ever saw in my life, and as secluded as 
if it were a hundred miles from any city or 
village." Presently he writes, " I have milked 
a cow! " One of his first bucolic experiences 
was with the famous " transcendental heifer " 
which was named (very likely by Hawthorne) 
" Margaret Fuller " because the beast proved 
rather strong minded and had finally to be 


sent to Coventry by the more docile kind, 
always to be counted on as more or less con- 
servative. Hawthorne later refers to this animal 
as having " a very intelligent face " and " a 
reflective cast of character." They all got 
a good deal of fun at Brook Farm, over the 
qualities imputed to their four-footed friends. 
Dr. Codman tells of a fine imported bull who, 
because he did not seem to be doing his share 
of work in their very industrious community, 
was harnessed up with a ring through his nose 
and made to draw a tip cart. His name was 
" Prince Albert." Then there was " Cyclops," 
too, a large raw-boned gray mare so christened 
because she had only one eye. 

Ripley loved working with the animals, but 
Hawthorne never did, and by the middle of 
the August which followed the April of his 
arrival we find him writing, " In a little more 
than a fortnight I shall be free from my bondage 
— free to enjoy Nature — free to think and 
feel. . . . Oh, labor is the curse of the world 
and nobody can meddle with it without be- 
coming proportionably brutified ! " Yet he stuck 
it out for a whole year and referred always 
to his stay at Brook Farm as the romantic 
period of his life. When he came to write his 
epic of the place he closed the story with this 
beautiful passage: " Often in these years that 
are darkening around me, I remember our 


beautiful scheme of a noble and unselfish life, 
and how fair in that first summer appeared the 
prospect that it might endure for generations 
and be perfected, as the ages rolled by, into a 
system of a people and a world. Were my former 
associates now there — were there only three 
or four of those true-hearted men now laboring 
in the sun — I sometimes fancy that I would 
direct my world-weary footsteps thitherward, 
and entreat them to receive me for old friend- 
ship's sake." 

The reproach hurled today at nearly all 
socialistic enterprises — that they stand for 
" free love " — early came to be used as a boom- 
erang to throw at Brook Farm. Mrs. Butterfield 
tells me that her father and mother were looked 
upon as most rashly endangering the souls of 
their young children when they took them, the 
second year of the experiment, to " that regular 
free love institution." Now, of course, this 
charge was grossly untrue. But it soon began 
to militate very powerfully, none the less, 
against the success of the school which, at the 
start, was to have been a chief source of income. 
In the fall term of 1842 the school's teaching 
stafiF was composed of the following instructors: 
George Ripley, Intellectual and Natural Phi- 
losophy and Mathematics; George P. Bradford, 
Belles Lettres; John S. Dwight, Latin and 
Music; Charles A. Dana, Greek and German; 


John S. Brown, Theoretical and Practical 
Agriculture; Sophia W. Ripley, History and 
Modern Languages; Marianne Ripley, Pri- 
mary School; Abigail Morton, Infant School; 
Georgiana Bruce, Infant School; Hannah B. 
Ripley, Drawing. The infant school was for 
children under six years of age; the primary 
school for children under ten; the preparatory 
school for pupils over ten years of age intending 
to pursue the higher branches of study in the 
institution. A young man could fit for college 
in six years at Brook Farm or he could take a 
three years' course in theoretical and practical 
agriculture. In any case he was expected to 
spend from one to two hours daily in manual 
labor. Now with such teachers, such a well- 
planned course and a healthy country back- 
ground upon which to live a free and happifying 
life, it would seem as if the school ought greatly 
to have succeeded. For a while, indeed, it did 
flourish like the proverbial green bay tree; 
Harvard College sent to its stimulating care 
young men who needed to study hard for a 
while in a community less exciting than Cam- 
bridge, — and their presence added not a little, 
as the presence of college boys always does, to 
the color and variety of the life. 

Charles A. Dana was one of the Harvard 
youths who found his way to the farm in the 
the middle of his college career, but he came as 


a " professor " and not as a pupil. Bom at 
Hinsdale, New Hampshire, in 1819, lie had 
passed his boyhood in Buffalo, and there fitted 
himself for Harvard College, which he entered 
in 1839. In the middle of his course his sight 
became seriously impaired from reading " Oliver 
Twist " by candle hght. When at three in the 
morning he finished the badly printed volume 
he found that he could scarcely see. Study, 
therefore, had to be abandoned for the time, 
and he was very glad to accept the invitation 
of the Harvard men already at Brook Farm to 
go there as instructor in Greek and German. 
He did his work as a teacher well, contributed 
articles to the Harbinger, — when that organ 
of the Brook Farmers came to be established, — 
and was throughout his five years of connection 
with the movement loyal and interested. 

Another famous editor who passed valuable for- 
mative years at Brook Farm was George William 
Curtis, who, with his brother Burrill, went out 
there as a boarder in 1842. Miss Amelia Russell, 
who has written charmingly of the home-life 
at Brook Farm, calls the Curtis brothers 
" Greek gods," — so handsome were they. Tra- 
dition recalls that they had an especial fondness 
for picnics and that he, whom we now associate 
chiefly with an Easy Chair, danced, at a certain 
Brook Farm junket, in a sTiort green skirt 
modelled on that worn by Fanny EUsler! 


After a daguerreotype. 

Pa„e 38. 



Page 47. 

Page 44. 


From a rare photograph ire the pos- 
session of the PaiiUst Fathers, 
New York. 

Page 47. 

>--'6-;6ife6!6 i^k] 







''^ < ~ i 1 «» 


\o X - ^ 0-- 






A seeker after country beauty might well 
choose Brook Farm today as an ideal place in 
which to take refuge from a jarring world. It 
still has a slender little brook gurgling through 
its undulating meadows and there is a happy air 
of peace resting upon its woods and hill-tops. 
The accompanying picture is a photograph of 
a painting done in 1845 by Josiah Wolcott, then 
a resident at the community. It is owned by 
Mrs. Butterfield and is interesting as an authen- 
tic contemporary reproduction of the actual 
" set " of this inspiriting drama of brotherhood. 
At the extreme right is shown the Hive, the 
farm house which stood not far from the road 
when the life of the little community began and 
which was immediately utilized. Here was the 
heart of the community: Mr. Ripley's library; 
the first day nursery ever known in America, — 
a room where mothers could leave their children 
in care of the Nursery Group while they did their 
daily work; " Attica," a large upper room 
where the unmarried men slept; and the low- 
studded dining-room with its old-fashioned 
fireplace of brick and its pine tables set off 
with white linen and white table-ware and 
having white painted benches on either side. 

At the highest point of land which the farm 
contained (and the second building from the 
right in the picture) was built, in 1842, the 
Eyrie, a square wooden structure of smooth 


matched boards painted, after the imitative 
fashion of the day, the color of gray sandstone. 
The house was reached by a long flight of steps 
from the farm road and the view from it was a 
delight. Into this house the Ripleys moved as 
soon as it was finished. The Cottage — which 
alone of all the community buildings remains 
today — was the next house erected after the 
Eyrie. The remaining building, at the extreme 
left of the picture, was called Pilgrim House, 
and was built by Ichabod Morton for the use of 
his family. It is interesting to us as having been 
the editorial oflBce of the Harbinger. 

And now let us see what manner of daily 
life was led in this community by those who 
had there withdrawn from the world to help 
in the world's reformation. Emerson always 
rather poked fun at Brook Farm, though he 
admitted that it was a pleasant place where 
lasting friendships were formed and the " art 
of letter writing was stimulated." He implies 
that there was a shirking of labor on the part 
of some, and perhaps that is true. Human 
nature is pretty apt to be human nature even 
at Brook Farm. " The country members," he 
says, " were naturally surprised to observe that 
one man ploughed all day and one looked out 
of the window all day — and perhaps drew his 
picture, and both received at night the same 


The work of the household as well as of the 
farm was organized by groups, and Mrs. Butter- 
field is as sure today as she was then that 
necessary labor can be greatly lightened as well 
as sweetened by working in this manner. 
" Let us suppose it is Tuesday," she says. 
" The rising horn sounded at five o'clock in 
summer. I often used to get up and go around 
from house to house with a peculiar whistle as 
a signal to some members of the singing group 
to sing under John S. Dwight's windows from 
6 to 7. We sang Mozart's and Haydn's masses, 
and it was glorious to hear that sacred music 
in the still, beautiful morning air. I never can 
forget it. I think it was one of the holiest and 
most inspiring things in my life. 

" Then came breakfast in the Hive and after 
breakfast our work. I greatly enjoyed ironing, 
and on Tuesday I would work all the morning 
with that group. Dinner was at twelve o'clock 
and in the afternoon there were German and 
French classes to which any one who wanted 
to study could go. The cobbler would stop in 
his mending of shoes to go to the Shakespeare 
class, making up time afterward. As a rule 
the women did the housework, and the men that 
connected with the farm, but the men helped 
in the housework too when that seemed advis- 
able. The baker was a man — Father Hecker, 
founder of the Paulist order, he came to be 


afterward, — another man was assistant in the 
laundry and one of the young fellows carried 
water for the dormitories. 

" I shall never forget the impression made 
upon my youthful mind, the day our family 
arrived at the farm, by seeing one of the culti- 
vated gentlemen from Concord hanging out the 
morning's washing. Yet that was not inap- 
propriate work in rough weather for a man. 
Our women seldom participated in outdoor 
work, though I remember that, on one or more 
occasions when help in that direction was im- 
peratively needed, half a dozen of our young 
women did very active work in the hay ifield. 
In several of the groups, notably the waiting 
groups, the young men and women were about 
equally divided. Charles A. Dana was at one 
time head waiter. After washing for three 
hours every Monday morning Mrs. Ripley 
would have her classes at the school in the 
afternoon. All! but she was a rare and lovely 

Rare! indeed. Too much emphasis can 
scarcely be laid, in writing about Brook Farm, 
upon the exquisite quality of this woman who 
upheld the hands and sustained the courage of 
the founder of the enterprise. Granddaughter 
of Chief Justice Dana, our first minister to 
Russia, she had been a teacher, — when Ripley 
came to love her, — in a boarding and day 


school for young ladies held in Fay House, 
Cambridge. In that house she was married 
to Ripley (August 22, 1827) by the father of 
Oliver Wendell Holmes. Their alliance was 
" founded not upon any romantic or sudden 
passion, but upon great respect for her intel- 
lectual power, moral worth, deep and true 
Christian piety and peculiar refinement and 
dignity of character," wrote the young husband 
to a friend. Ripley came of farmer stock — his 
boyhood home was in the beautiful Connecticut 
valley, — but he was a lover of books, a graduate 
of Harvard College, and he had chosen the 
ministry for his profession. 

It seemed indeed as if the life the pair would 
lead must be that of a quiet Boston parson and 
his wife, for he was soon called over the church 
at the corner of Pearl and Purchase Streets, 
and he stayed there preaching Unitarianism as 
he saw it for fourteen years. But, during those 
years there came to him a vision of that great 
truth which is now bursting afresh upon the 
minds of earnest-minded ministers, — that, 
under existing social conditions it is well-nigh 
impossible to harmonize Christian doctrine and 
Christian life. He tried to preach the social 
gospel, but his people were not responsive. 
Finally, therefore (in October, 1840), he wrote 
them from Northampton a manly letter in 
which he set forth with absolute open-minded- 


ness the reasons for the faith which was in him, 
and his reluctant conviction that he and they 
could not longer work together. This letter 
was accepted as definitive by his congregation, 
and on March 28, 1841, they listened respect- 
fully but with resignation, to their minister's 
farewell sermon. 

The compact description of Ripley given by 
his biographer, Rev. O. B. Frothingham, warms 
one's heart to the man. " He was no unbeliever, 
no sceptic, no innovator in matters of opinion 
or observance, but a quiet student, a scholar, 
a man of books, a calm, bright-minded, whole- 
souled thinker, believing, hopeful, sunny, but 
absorbed in philosophical pursuits. Well does 
the writer of these lines recall the vision of a 
slender figure wearing in summer the flowing 
silk robe, in winter the dark blue cloak of the 
profession, walking with measured step from 
his residence in Rowe Street towards the meet- 
ing house in Purchase Street. The face was 
shaven clean, the brown hair curled in close 
crisp ringlets, the face was pale as if in thought; 
the gold-rimmed spectacles concealed black 
eyes; the head was alternately bent and raised. 
No one could have guessed that the man had 
in him the fund of humor in which his friends 
delighted, or the heroism in social reform which, 
a few years later, amazed the community." 
To Emerson Ripley wrote that his idea of 


personal happiness would be to rent a place 
upon which he could live independently — " and 
one day drive his own cart to market and sell 
greens." As a matter of fact he possessed 
neither the taste nor the temperament of a 
magnetic leader of men. 

Mrs. Ripley was quite different. She sup- 
plied what he lacked in this way. She was 
ardent, impulsive, deeply sympathetic. Her 
power of enthusing those who came in contact 
with her was extraordinary and " impossible 
seemed a word unknown to her." She was a 
tall and graceful woman with fair coloring. 
When it is said of her that, by reason of being 
chief of the wash-room group, she made the 
laundry " a place of almost seductive cheerful- 
ness," one has perhaps given the strongest 
proof needed of her magnetism and buoyancy. 

With such people as Mr. and Mrs. Ripley 
at its head and such men as Dana and John S. 
Dwight acting as effective lieutenants. Brook 
Farm was sure to be a Mecca for visitors. The 
popularity of the place helped towards its 
undoing, indeed. Dr. Codman records that, 
in one year, more than four thousand people 
came out to the farm to stay for a longer or 
shorter period. At first these people were made 
welcome to meals without charge and members 
of the community were drafted to show them 
about. But when their number came to be 


" legion " it was found necessary to exact a fee 
for the food consumed, and they were left to 
wander as they would. " Yet every pleasant 
day from May to November," the historian 
of the place declares, " men, women and chil- 
dren were passing from Hive to Eyrie and over 
the farm back to the Hive, where they took 
private carriage or public coach for their de- 
parture. Among these people were some of the 
oddest of the odd; those who rode every con- 
ceivable hobby; some of all religions; bond and 
free, transcendental and occidental; anti-slavery 
and pro-slavery; come-outers, communists, 
fruitists and flutists; dreamers and schemers 
of all sorts." In a word cranks galore. Such 
was Bronson Alcott's friend Lane, who was 
opposed to eating anything that was killed or 
had died, so ate neither fish nor flesh; who was 
opposed to wearing wool because it was an 
animal product and implied robbing the sheep 
of its protection; who was opposed to wearing 
cotton and would use neither rice nor sugar 
because they were products of slave labor; for 
whom no way of getting to Brook Farm but 
on his legs seemed possible and no encompassing 
garment but a linen suit could be regarded as 
sufficiently moral. Alcott himself did not come 
often. He found Concord a more favorable 
spot in which to follow his peculiar genius. 
Moreover, he was fresh from the failure of 


his own recent experiment in community 
life at Fruitlands, near Harvard, Massachu- 

Orestes Augustus Brownson was one of the 
interesting characters who wandered back and 
forth between Brook Farm and the outer 
world. Brownson had experienced so many 
kinds of religion before he " walked backward 
into the Catholic Church " that it was once 
remarked of him, when a preacher invited to the 
communion table the members of all Christian 
churches, that Brownson was the only person in 
the congregation who could " fill the bill." 

Brownson it was who brought to the farm 
Isaac Hecker, — already referred to as the 
family baker, — who became the head of the 
Paulists and, in his day, the best interpreter 
of the Roman Catholic Church to the cool- 
headed practical American. His sojourn at 
Brook Farm may very well be credited in 
tracing out the influences which made him 
what he was. " To leave this place is to me a 
great sacrifice," he wrote as he was going away. 
" I have been much refined by being here," 
Hecker was a " partial " boarder when he first 
entered Brook Farm; he paid four dollars a 
week and gave his services as a baker in ex- 
change for instruction in German, philosophy, 
French and music. Later he became a " full " 
boarder, paying for the greater freedom five 


dollars and a half a week. Hecker was of the 
Grahamites, while at the Farm. In the dining- 
room there was always one table of vegetarians 
— those who used no flesh meats and generally 
no tea or coffee, who were, in fact, followers 
of the dietary principles of Dr. Sylvester 
Graham, whose name is still connected with 
bread made of unbolted flour because it was by 
him considered the very perfection of human 
food. When the plans for the Phalanstery — the 
large house which was destroyed by fire before 
it was completed — came to be made, it was 
decided that those at the Graham tables should 
be given board at a less price than the others, 
because their food was less expensive. 

The burning of the Phalanstery (March 3, 
1846) marked an epoch at Brook Farm. For 
a long time accommodations had been insuflS- 
cient and high hopes were placed upon what 
might be accomplished when this large, roomy 
building should be available for lodging and 
assembly purposes. By those who wished to 
swing the Community into line with Fourier- 
ism the central house was deemed especially 
desirable, and when it seemed impossible to get 
together the seven thousand dollars which had 
been lost through the fire their enthusiasm 
dwindled gradually away. Writers on Brook 
Farm are agreed that the cause of the Com- 
munity's failure was its advocacy of this as- 


sociationist doctrine as preached by Albert 
Brisbane, and that the occasion to which dampen- 
ing of enthusiasm may be traced is the burning 
of the Phalanstery, the outward and visible 
sign of Fourierism. 

When Charles Fourier, the son of a French 
linen draper, died in 1837, his theories were not 
well known in this country. But Albert Bris- 
bane got hold of them in England, converted 
Horace Greeley to them, and, through Greeley, 
who took a very deep and real interest in Brook 
Farm, foisted them upon the Brook Farm 
Community. The old slander that Brook Farm 
was a " regular free love institution " now 
began to be repeated in the religious press as 
well as from mouth to mouth. And unfor- 
tunately there was just one little remark which 
Fourier had once made which could be inter- 
preted as condoning irregularity in some cases. 
In his study of human nature he believed he had 
discovered inherently inconstant natures, ex- 
ceptional men and women who cannot be con- 
stant to one idea, one hope or one love; and 
believing this inconstancy to be a normal 
trait of character with some persons, who are 
exceptions to the general rule, he simply ac- 
knowledged the fact and speculated on the 
result and the position such persons would have 
in the future ideal society. " But," he said 
very unmistakably, " the man has no claim 


as discoverer or to the confidence of the world, 
who advocates such absurdities as community 
of property, absence of divine worship and rash 
abohtion of marriage." This would have been 
circumstantial enough for any unprejudiced 
writer. But then, as now, newspapers battened 
on articles in defence of " sacred institutions " 
nobody has attacked, and the impression that 
Brook Farm encouraged a laxity of moral out- 
look was not allowed to die. Of course this 
reacted disastrously upon the school attendance, 
which was to have been a chief source of income. 
Moreover, the industries, which had latterly 
been introduced, did not flourish as it had been 
fondly hoped they might. The nine miles from 
Boston proved too far to cart window-frames 
and the like profitably to market. 

The organ of Fourierism in this country was 
the Harbinger, printed at Brook Farm from 
June, 1845, to June, 1847. Had the paper been 
used to tell the world the truth about Brook 
Farm instead of being devoted to the promulga- 
tion of doctrines already obnoxious to many, the 
day might have been saved in spite of the fire. 
As it was, the Harbinger was fatally associated 
with propaganda considered subversive of the 
social order. From a literary standpoint it was 
a great success, however; its poetry and musical 
criticism were excellent, and the first number 
contained an admirable translation of George 

















s ^ 




^ .« 






Sand's " Consuelo," contributed by Francis 
Gould Shaw, a neighbor and very kind friend 
of the Brook Farmers. Dr. Codman recalls that 
Mr. Shaw, on his horse, with his young son, a 
tiny little fellow, on a pony by his side, often 
galloped over to the Farm to call. The " little 
fellow" is now commemorated in Boston's beau- 
tiful Shaw Memorial, opposite the State House. 

Another West Roxbury neighbor whom those 
at the Farm were always glad to welcome was 
Theodore Parker. Parker was a warm friend 
of Ripley, and as he was then having troubles 
and religious perplexities of his own it is prob- 
able that he found it a great comfort to tramp 
two miles across the fields and talk things 
over with one who had been through the mill. 
On Sundays some members of the Community 
would usually turn out to hear Parker preach. 

Sunday was a delightful day at the Com- 
munity. Hawthorne has reproduced for us 
something of its flavor in his talk about Eliot's 
pulpit in The Blithedale Romance, and Dr. 
Codman has given us a charming snapshot 
description of a certain occasion when William 
Henry Channing held a religious service in the 
nearby beautiful pine woods and his hearers, 
like the Pilgrims and reformers of old, raised 
their voices in hymns of praise and listened to 
a sermon of hopefulness. That must have been 
a thrilling moment when Channing bade the 


assembled company, seated on the pine-needles 
at his feet, " to join hands and make a circle, 
the symbol of universal unity, and of the 
at-one-ment of all men and women." 

But life at Brook Farm was more than work 
and study and preaching. Of pure fun there 
was always a good deal. As Lindsay Swift 
has whimsically put it, " Enjoyment was almost 
from the first a serious pursuit of the Com- 
munity. It formed a part of the curriculum and 
was a daily habit of life." Dancing was much 
in vogue, and after the dishes had been done 
in the evening it was quite the custom to clear 
away the dining-room tables and have a joyous 
hour or two. Then the talk at meals was apt 
to be good. The immediate effect of a visit 
from Alcott was the direction to cut pie " from 
the centre to the periphery," and Mrs. Howe 
avers that the customary formula at table was, 
" Is the butter within the sphere of your 
influence? " 

The fact that, for a long time, there were 
more men than women in the Community 
made things very pleasant for the girls who 
had housework to do. George William Curtis 
occasionally trimmed lamps, Dana organized 
a band of griddle-cake servitors composed of 
four of the most elegant youths in the Com- 
munity, and there is a story that one young 
fellow confessed his passion while helping his 


sweetheart at the sink. Of love-making there 
was quite a Uttle. No less than fourteen 
happy marriages may be traced to acquaintance 
begun there. Dr. Codman thinks this was due, 
in part, to the fact that the girls in their neat 
costumes — very like that afterwards associated 
with Mrs. Bloomer — never looked anything 
but attractive. The men must have made a 
fine appearance, too, in their tunics of brown 
linen or Rob Roy flannel. 

Yet since the financial conditions for marriage 
were not inviting, only one union was consum- 
mated at the Farm. This was the wedding of 
Dwight's sister, Marianne, to John Orvis. Rev. 
W. H. Channing tied the knot, and the usually 
eloquent Dwight made a speech of just five 
words, — "I like this making one." Perhaps 
he put his maturer thought about what he 
felt that night into his Harbinger poem, one 
verse of which runs: 

" Come, let us join hands. Let our two flames mingle 
In one more pure; 
Since there is truth in nothing that is single. 
Be love love's cure." 

Twenty-five years had been more or less 
vaguely set by the first Brook Farmers as the 
length of time which would be necessary to 
prove their experiment a real success. It had 
been going a fifth of that period with ever-in- 


creasing numbers and no decrease of enthusiasm 
when the Phalanstery burned. A year after 
that event Mr. Ripley was authorized by the 
creditors and stockholders to " let the farm." 
The intervening period covers the gradual 
dissolution of the Community. Quietly, al- 
most imperceptibly, the members withdrew 
into the big outside world. Dr. Codman says 
there was " no sadness of farewell." All had 
the feeling that they would some day be to- 
gether again in another Community whose 
finest building would not burn down just when 
things were at their best. 

The farm itself passed into various hands and 
suffered several vicissitudes of fortune. The 
Community buildings fell away one by one 
until today but one roof -tree of that happy time 
is left standing. It is that known as the Mar- 
garet Fuller Cottage, perhaps because it is the 
only house at which that famous lady never 
stopped while visiting Brook Farm. 

So ends the story of this romantic essay in 
socialism, this brave adventure in brotherhood 
which has well been called " the sweetest 
dream ever dreamed in America." Shall we 
not in leaving it repeat the benediction Haw- 
thorne pronounced upon it: " More and more 
I feel we at Brook Farm struck upon what 
ought to be a truth. Posterity may dig it up 
and profit by it." 



THAT Hawthorne meant Margaret Fuller 
by Zenobia is quite as certain as that 
he meant Brook Farm by the Arcady 
he so wonderfully depicts in The Blithedale 
Romance. Of course this is not to say that 
he even attempted to describe Brook Farm 
or Margaret Fuller photographically in his 
story. He was first, last and always the great 
American romancer. Besides, Margaret was 
never a member .of the community at West 
Roxbury. She was, indeed, only an occasional 
guest there. Yet, so persistent is belief in 
what the world wishes to believe and so muddled 
does literary history ere long become that a 
learned German work has actually been written 
under the title Margaret Fuller und Brook 
Farm. And Brook Farm pilgrims inquire to 
this day " for the pool in which Margaret 
Fuller was drowned ! " 

Whether absent or present Margaret Fuller's 
influence pervaded the place however, — just 


as her influence pervaded all the transcendental 
aspiration and all the literary activity of her 
time.^ Necessarily, therefore, we must rehearse 
her story in a book covering the Boston of this 
period. The accident that she was born in 
Cambridge, did her largest literary work in 
New York and found the culmination of her 
life in Italy makes no real difference. For the 
best that Boston people were and felt and 
thought in the nineteenth century they owe — 
very largely — to Margaret Fuller. 
I Yet Poe called Margaret " that detestable 
old maid," Carlyle was similarly scathing and 
uncomplimentary in his comment on her, and 
Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote down in his Roman 
Journal a sketch of her character, afterwards 
indiscreetly published by his son, which, if 
taken by itself, would brand as arrant idiots 
all those wise and cultivated folk who were 
proud to be known as Margaret's admiring 
friends. For, said Hawthorne, " Margaret Fuller 
had a strong and coarse nature which she had 
done her utmost to refine with infinite pains; 
but of course it could only be superficially 
changed. . . . Margaret has not left in the 
hearts and minds of those who knew her any 
deep witness of her integrity and purity. She 

I " Her personality never ceased to hover about Concord, even 
after her death," wrote Rose Hawthorne Lathrop. " She is a 
part of its fascination," 


was a great humbug — of course with much 
talent and moral reality, or else she could 
never have been so great a humbug, . . . 
Towards the last there appears to have been 
a total collapse in poor Margaret, morally 
and intellectually; and tragic as her catas- 
trophe was. Providence was after all kind in 
putting her and her clownish husband and her 
child on board that fated ship." 

Julian Hawthorne, certainly, was not kind 
in giving to the public (in 1884) this unflattering 
estimate of a woman, long dead. Happily, 
though, Margaret had still surviving several 
friends who were eager and able to set her 
right with the world. James Freeman Clarke, 
who had been one of her intimates," promptly 
published in the Independent an account of 
her relations with the Hawthornes which makes 
one feel very sure that the great romancer 
intended only for his private note-book this 
estimate of one to whom he had been a friend.' 
His gentle wife really loved Margaret and he 
gave the appearance of doing so. As witness 
this letter written by Miss Sophia Peabody 
just before her marriage to Hawthorne:^ 

* Dr. Clarke's article embodied, also, the suggestion of one of 
Hawthorne's intimates that the paragraph in the Roman Journal 
was really a sketch for a future imaginative character and 
not meant to be taken, as it too often has been, for Haw- 
thorne's secret feeling about Margaret Fuller and her claims. 

' Quoted by J. F. Clarke in the Independent, 


" Deab Most Noble Margaret: — I have 
now something to tell you which I know will 
give you great pleasure. The decision was not 
made till last evening; and I feel that you are 
entitled, through our love and profound regard 
for you, to be told directly. Mr. Hawthorne — 
in plain words the splendor of the world — 
and I are going to dwell in Concord at Dr. 
Ripley's old manse. . . . We shall be married 
in June, the month of roses and of perfect 

" Mr. Hawthorne, last evening, in the midst 
of his emotions, so deep and absorbing, after 
deciding, said that Margaret can now, when 
she visits Mr. Emerson, spend part of the 
time with us. . . . 

" Your very true and loving friend 

" Sophia." 

If Hawthorne had always disliked Margaret 
Fuller, as his son Julian contends, he would 
scarcely have paused, in the ecstasy of betrothal, 
to make plans that she should visit at his 
future home. Moreover, the following passage 
in his American Note-Book ^ shows that their 
relations actually turned out to be those of 
capital friends: " After leaving Mr. Emerson's 
I returned through the woods, and entering 
Sleepy Hollow, I perceived a lady reclining 

' American Note-Books, I, 221. 


near the path which bends along its verge. It 
was Margaret herself. She had been there the 
whole afternoon meditating or reading, for she 
had a book in her hand with some strange title 
which I did not understand and have forgotten. 
She said that nobody had broken her solitude, 
and was just giving utterance to a theory that 
no inhabitant of Concord ever visited Sleepy 
Hollow, when we saw a group of people entering 
the sacred precincts. Most of them followed 
a path which led them away from us; but an 
old man passed near us, and smiled to see 
Margaret reclining on the ground and me 
standing by her side. He made some remark 
upon the beauty of the afternoon, and withdrew 
himself into the shadow of the wood. Then we 
talked about autumn, and about the pleasures 
of being lost in the woods, and about the crows 
whose voices Margaret had heard; and about 
the experiences of early childhood whose in- 
jfluence remains upon the character after the 
recollection of them has passed away; and 
about the sight of mountains from a distance, 
and the view from their summits; and about 
other matter of high and low philosophy." 
One does not talk of these things a long summer 
afternoon through with a person whom one 
does not at least like. 

Yet Margaret Fuller had a side to her nature 
with which Hawthorne could only coolly sympa- 


thize at best. She was a superb lover! Of her 
culture much has been written. Of her ex- 
traordinary conversational gifts the descriptions 
have been so manifold and so awe-inspiring 
as quite sufficiently to have prejudiced against 
her the many who hate " haranguing women." 
But only in Higginson's biography of her is 
any emphasis laid upon her passionate love 
of humanity. And even there this phase is 
merely touched upon in passing because the 
task which had been set for the writer (in the 
American Men of Letters Series) was that of 
studying Margaret Fuller as a literary woman. 
Loving service was, however, far more the 
expression of her inmost personality than was 
writing or the pursuit of that culture with which 
she is chiefly associated by her contemporaries. 
Had this not been the case she would never 
have stood by the side of Mazzini, as she did 
in Italy's pitiful struggle for independence; 
nor would young patriots, dying in the hospital, 
have called for her that they might clasp her 
hands and cry " Viva I'ltalia " with their 
expiring breath. At the very moment indeed 
when Lowell was satirizing her in his Fable 
for Critics as one who 

"... will take an old notion and make it her ovm 
By saying it o'er in her Sibylline tone. 
Or persuade you 'tis something tremendously deep 
By repeating it so as to put you to sleep," 


she was leading the Hf e of heroic action for which 
she had long been yearning. 

Margaret Fuller was born. May 23, 1810, in 
a house on Cherry Street, Cambridgeport, which 
is still standing. She was drowned, with her 
husband and child, off the coast of Fire Island 
soon after she had passed her fortieth birth- 
day and when her real work in the world had 
only just begun. Yet the impress of her 
personality was such, and her book. Woman 
in the Nineteenth Century so remarkably pro- 
phetic, that hers may well be regarded as the 
most successful woman-life of her century, 
with the single exception of that which gave 
to the world the slave-freeing Uncle Tom's 

As a child she was subjected by her father to 
a forcing-house system of education which, as 
she herself has said, " made her a youthful 
prodigy by day and, by night, a victim of spec- 
tral illusions, nightmare and somnambulism." 
As one reads her journal one's heart aches with 
pity for the little girl who, having recited Virgil 
to her father, late in the evening, dreamed, 
when she came to sleep, of horses trampling 
over her and of trees that dripped with blood. 
Yet Virgil, Horace and Ovid were early num- 
bered among her dear friends " and reading 
became a habit and a passion." Shakespeare, 
too, soon claimed her devotion, the first play 


she assimilated being that which tells the tragic 
tale of two young people in Verona. 

How largely the appeal which Romeo and 
Juliet made to this child was due to the 
impassioned love lines we are not told; but 
since Margaret Fuller was a very ardent creature 
and was soon to experience the first love of 
her young life, there is little question that this 
aspect of the drama must have moved her pro- 
foundly. All her life long she loved many 
people with a deep absorbing devotion which, 
as she herself has said, " lavished away her 
strength." After a lapse of many years, she 
wrote of her first friend: " My thoughts were 
fixed on her with all the force of my nature. 
It was my first real interest in my kind and it 
engrossed me wholly. ..." She was twelve at 
the time. 

Two inexorable descriptions of the maiden 
Margaret have come down to us. One sets 
her before us as she appeared at the ball given 
by her father to President Adams : a young girl 
of sixteen " with a very plain face, half shut 
eyes and hair curled all over her head; she was 
laced so tightly, by reason of stoutness, that 
she had to hold her arms back as if they were 
pinioned; she was dressed in a badly cut, low 
necked pink silk, with white muslin over it; 
and she danced quadrilles very awkwardly, 
being withal so near-sighted that she could 


hardly see her partner." Again, Oliver Wendell 
Holmes, with whose class she may be said to 
have " danced through college " — to quote 
Howells' phrase, — tells us graphically of her 
" long and flexile neck, arching and undulating 
in strange, sinuous movements, which one who 
loved her would compare to a swan, and one 
who loved her not to those of the ophidian who 
tempted our common mother." 

There were always many who loved Margaret 
Fuller and many who loved her not. No woman 
ever inspired such deep feelings both of attrac- 
tion and of dislike. James Freeman Clarke, 
writing of Margaret and her friendships, says 
that the persons she might most wish to know 
often retired from her and avoided her. But 
she was " sagacious of her quarry " and never 
suffered herself to be repelled by this. She saw 
when anyone belonged to her and never rested 
imtil she came into possession of her property. 
This is so reminiscent of certain passages in 
Emerson's essay on Friendship that it seems 
natural to remark, just at this point, that the 
Sage of Concord was one of Margaret's most 
true and devoted friends. 

" I became acquainted with her," he writes, 
" in 1835 , , . when she came to spend a 
fortnight with my wife. I still remember the 
first half hour of her conversation. She was 
then twenty-six years old. She had a face and 


frame that would indicate fulness and tenacity 
of life. She was rather under the middle height; 
her complexion was fair with strong fair hair. 
She was then, as always, carefully and becom- 
ingly dressed and of lady-like self-possession. 
For the rest, her appearance had nothing pre- 
possessing. Her extreme plainness — a trick 
of incessantly opening and shutting her eyelids, 
— the nasal tone of her voice, — all repelled; 
and I said to myself, we shall never get far." 

Yet they became dear and lifelong friends, 
writing to each other constantly and passing 
long afternoons in the close intimacy of kindred 
minds during her frequent and protracted visits 
to Concord. Emerson was seven years her 
senior and very grave. Yet to him, rather 
oddly, Margaret showed herself a wit; of all 
the people who have written of her he alone 
points out that she possessed a huge fund of 
anecdotes and drolleries and that what most 
call satire in her was really due only to a super- 
abundance of animal spirits. He was very 
proud to become her close friend, for he says, 
" she had drawn to her every superior young 
man or young woman she had met. . . . 

" When I first knew her," he continues, " she 
wore this circle of friends as a necklace of dia- 
monds about her neck. . . . The confidences 
given her were their best and she held them 
to them. She was an active inspiring companion 

Page 37. 




and correspondent, and all the art, the thought 
and the nobleness in New England seemed at 
that moment related to her and she to it. She 
was everywhere a welcome guest. The houses 
of her friends in town and country were open 
to her and every hospitable attention eagerly 
oflfered. Her arrival was a holiday. ... Of 
personal influence she had, I think, more than 
any other person I ever knew." 

Margaret Fuller honestly believed that not 
only between men and women can there be 
deep, passionate love. Witness the following 
passages from her journal and her letters: 
" At Mr. G's we looked over prints the whole 
evening. Nothing fixed my attention so much 
as a large engraving of Madame Rdcamier in 
her boudoir. I have often thought over the 
intimacy between her and Madame De Stael. 
It is so true that a woman may be in love with 
a woman and a man with a man. I like to be 

sure of it, . . . for I loved for a time 

with as much passion as I was then strong 
enough to feel. Her face was always gleaming 
before me. ... I do not love her now with 
passion, but I still feel towards her as I can to no 
other woman. I thought of all this as I looked 
at Madame Rdcamier." 

While sustaining all this remarkable current 
of affection Margaret was earning her living in 
the only way then open to women — by school- 


teaching. Her father had died and there was a 
brood of young brothers to be educated. She 
was very glad, therefore, to avail herself of the 
chance which came to her, through Emerson, 
to teach (1836) in the school which Bronson 
Alcott had opened in Boston, in a part of the big 
stone building on the corner of Temple Place 
in which, until last year, the R. H. Stearns 
Company had their headquarters. She was a 
welcome guest at the choicest parties of which 
Boston could boast, and we are indebted to her 
for this picture of the " society " of the day. 
" Last night I took my boldest peep into the 
' Gigman ' world of Boston. I had not been to 
a large party before, and had only seen said world 
in half-boots. So I thought, as it was an 
occasion in which I felt real interest, to wit, a 
fete given by Mrs. Thorndike for my beautiful 
Susan, I would look at it for once in satin 
slippers. Dr. Channing meant to go but was too 
weary when the hour came. I spent the early 
part of the evening in reading bits of Dante 
with him and talking about the material sublime 
till half -past nine, when I went with Mrs. C. 
and graceful Mary. 

" It was very pretty to look at. So many 
fair maidens dressed as if they had stepped out 
of their grandmothers' picture frames, and 
youths with their long locks, suitable to repre- 
sent pages if not nobles. Signor Figaro was 


there also. . . . And Daniel tlie Great (Web- 
ster), not however, when I saw him, engaged 
in an operation peculiarly favorable to his 
style of beauty, to wit, eating oysters. Theo- 
dore Parker was there, and introduced to me. 
I had some pleasant talk with him, but before 
I could get to Spinoza, somebody seized on 
me and carried me off to quite another S, — 
to supper. On the whole, it all pleased my eye; 
my fashionable fellow-creatures were very civil 
to me, and I went home glad to have looked at 
this slide in the magic lantern also." 

A form of dissipation much more in Mar- 
garet's line than fancy-dress balls were the 
meetings of the Transcendental Club and 
the famous " Conversations " which began 
(November 6, 1839) at the rooms on West 
Street where Miss Elizabeth P. Peabody main- 
tained at this time a circulating library and 
foreign bookshop. This place had become a 
kind of Transcendental Exchange where many 
who had no thought of purchasing books 
dropped in for the sheer delight that it was to 
" talk of many things " with the keen-witted 
little lady who was the proprietor of the shop.^ 
No better setting could have been devised for the 
proposed classes, subscriptions to which were ob- 
tained through the circulation of a letter setting 

' The idea of the Church of the Disciples first occxured to Dr. 
Clarke in this room. 


forth " the advantages of a weekly meeting for 
conversation " in a class which should " supply a 
point of union to well-educated and thinking 
women, in a city, which, with great pretensions 
to mental refinement, boasts at present nothing 
of the kind." 

Twenty-five cultivated Boston women were 
present at the first meeting of Miss Fuller's 
class, which soon grew to be a famous Boston 
institution, meeting weekly for five winters 
to consider everything from vanity to soci- 
ology. The sessions opened at eleven in the 
morning, ten or a dozen, besides the leader, 
usually taking active part in the talk. The 
leader's own account of the first days, as sent 
to Emerson and by him quoted in the Mem- 
oirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli, is as follows : 

" 25th November, 1839. — My class is pros- 
perous. I was so fortunate as to rouse at once 
the tone of simple earnestness, which can 
scarcely, when once awakened, cease to vibrate." 

No reports of the " Conversations " are 
extant, but this sprightly picture of the eighth 
meeting, as sent by one who was there to a 
friend in New Haven, is very pleasantly illumi- 
nating: " Christmas made a holiday for Miss 
Fuller's class, but it met on Saturday at noon. 
. . . Margaret, beautifully dressed (don't de- 
spise that, for it made a fine picture), presided 
with more dignity and grace than I had thought 


possible. The subject was Beauty. Each had 
written her definition and Margaret began with 
reading her own. This called forth questions, 
comments and illustrations on all sides. The 
style and manner, of course, in this are different, 
but the question, the high point from which it 
was considered, and the earnestness and sim- 
plicity of the discussion as well as the gifts and 
graces of the speakers, gave it the charm of a 
Platonic dialogue. There was no pretension 
of pedantry in a word that was said. The tone 
of remark and question was simple as that of 
children in a school class; and, I believe, every 
one was satisfied." 

Not quite everyone; not Harriet Martineau, 
for instance, whom Margaret had come to know 
through her friend Mrs. John Farrar, and to 
whom, upon the publication of the book. 
Society in America, Margaret protested that 
undue emphasis had there been placed upon 
the anti-slavery movement. This Miss Mar- 
tineau appears to have resented, for when she 
came to write her Autobiography, she incor- 
porated in the work the following utterly 
unfair criticism of the " Conversations : " " The 
difference between us [Margaret and herself] was 
that while she was living and moving in an 
ideal world, talking in private and discoursing 
in public about the most fanciful and shallow 
conceits which the Transcendentalists of Boston 


took for philosophy, she looked down upon 
persons who acted instead of talking finely, 
and devoted their fortunes, their peace, their 
repose and their very lives to the preservation 
of the principles of the republic. While Mar- 
garet Fuller and her adult pupils *sat ' gorgeously 
dressed ' talking about Mars and Venus, Plato 
and Goethe, and fancying themselves the elect 
of the earth in intellect and refinement, the 
liberties of the republic were running out as 
fast as they could go, at a breach which 
another sort of elect persons were devoting 
themselves to repair; and my complaint against 
the ' gorgeous ' pedants was that they regarded 
their preservers as hewers of wood and drawers 
of water, and their work as a less vital one than 
the pedantic orations which were spoiling a 
set of well-meaning women in a pitiable way." 
Now, as a matter of fact, the women in the 
West Street classes were almost identically the 
same women of whom Miss Martineau here 
speaks as " another sort of elect persons." 
The wives of Emerson and Parker, the only 
daughter of Channing, Mrs. Lydia Maria Child, 
Mrs. Ellis Gray Loring, and the lady who after- 
wards became Mrs. Ednah D. Cheney, were 
among those who sat at Margaret's feet. And 
they were all ardent workers for the cause of 
anti-slavery! It was the office of Margaret 
Fuller to stimulate these women morally and 


mentally, not so much, however, by the dis- 
cussion of a concrete evil then existing in 
the world as by deepened appreciation of all 
that is beautiful in art, in literature and in 

One aged lady still living, who belonged to 
the conversation class, has said that the in- 
fluence of their leader's sympathy upon the 
thoughts and hopes of those before her was so 
great that, metaphorically speaking, the lame 
walked and the blind received their sight. And 
Mrs. Cheney spoke to me, very enthusiastically, 
shortly before her death, a few years ago, of 
all that Margaret Fuller had meant to her — 
and to many since. 

" Her most distinguishing characteristic, next 
to her love of love," she said, " was her personal 
magnetism. I myself first came under her 
spell when she began to hold her ' Conversa- 
tions.' I was eager enough for any intellectual 
advantage, but I had imbibed with the thought- 
lessness of a school girl the common prejudices 
against Miss Fuller. 

" So, though I believed that I should learn 
from her, I had no idea, when I joined her 
class with thirty or forty others, that I should 
esteem, and much more, love her. She was 
about twenty-five at the time I came under 
her influence, and I was, I think, sixteen or 


" The class used to meet in the morning, and 
she would talk gloriously on whatever subject, 
perhaps Greek literature, she had set herself 
for that day. I early found myself in a new 
world of thought; a flood of light irradiated all 
that I had seen in nature, observed in life, or 
read in books. 

" Whatever she spoke of revealed a hidden 
meaning, and everything seemed to be put in 
true relation. Her influence might be best 
expressed by saying that I was no longer the 
limitation of myself, but I felt that the whole 
work of the universe was open to me. It was 
this consciousness of the divinity in the soul, 
so real to Margaret herself, which gave her that 
air of regal superiority which was misinterpreted 
as conceit. 

" Perhaps I can best give you an idea of 
what she was to me by an answer which I made 
to her. One day, when she was alone with me, 
and it is as if I could now feel her touch and 
hear her voice, she said, ' Is life rich to you.'' ' 
And I replied, ' It is since I have known you.' 
Such was the response of many a youthful heart 
to her, and herein was her wonderful influence. 
She did not make us her disciples, her blind 
followers. She opened the book of life and 
helped us to read it for ourselves. Her intel- 
lectuality was pronounced, of course. Neither 
this country nor any other has ever had, I 


believe, a woman of such transcendent con- 
versational power. 

" But she was even more heart than mind. 
It is her heart, indeed, her intense sympathy 
with young women, and her close knowledge 
of all that may come to them of trial and temp- 
tation, that explains her hold today upon the 
women of this country. There are Margaret 
Fuller clubs and Ossoli circles all over this 
country, you know. 

" This is the year of Emerson's centenary, 
and his influence upon the intellectual life of 
this country is being everywhere exalted, and 
properly. But I would venture the opinion that 
Emerson, great as he undoubtedly is, is not 
loved by nearly so many people as love Margaret 
Fuller, who was in a way his contemporary, 
and who was certainly his friend. 

". The last time I went west to lecture, people 
in the most unexpected places, in Dubuque 
and other such cities, used to come to me and 
say, ' Can't you tell me something about Mar- 
garet Fuller? You knew her,' they say. ' We 
only know of her. Tell us, then, of her per- 
sonality, her real self.' 

" I told these people what I always say of 
Margaret, that her strength lay in her per- 
sonality; nothing that adequately represents 
her power remains in her writing. Any one 
who ever came near to her grew very fond 


of her. Her tenderness seems to me her most 
remarkable characteristic, and of that com- 
paratively little is known." 

At the same time that the Conversations 
were doing their excellent work to stimulate 
morally, as well as mentally, the young women 
of Boston, Margaret Fuller was the prime agent 
in bringing out The Dial, the organ of the 
Transcendental Club to which allusion has 
already been made. 

Emerson wrote the introduction to the first 
number and Margaret Fuller the article on 
" Critics " and that bearing the caption, " AU- 
ston Gallery." For two years she was not only 
the editor of the sheet but the alert and resource- 
ful " fiUer-in " of all space left vacant at the 
eleventh hour. Nominally she drew a salary 
of two hundred dollars a year for all this; 
actually, however, she got little or nothing. 
Later Emerson took the editorial responsibility, 
and, after four years of precarious fortune. 
The Dial expired. Apart from the romantic 
associations with which its young life was bound 
up it is interesting today chiefly because it 
first gave to the world, in its issue of July, 
1843, Margaret Fuller's essay which we now 
know, in book form, under the title. Woman 
In the Nineteenth Century. This article might 
almost have been written for a suffragette 
organ in the year of our Lord, 1910, so extraor- 


dinarily fresh is it in tone and so nobly does 
it present the innate right of woman to real 
fulness of life. Because the book is rather in- 
accessible I want to quote here a few of its pro- 
phetic passages: 

" Whether much or little has been done or 
will be done, [by broadly educated women], 
whether women will add to the talent of narra- 
tion the power of systematizing, whether they 
will carve marble as well as draw and paint 
is not important. But that it should be acknowl- 
edged that they have intellects which need 
developing, that they should not be considered 
complete if beings of affection and habit alone, 
is important. Yet even this acknowledgment, 
rather conquered by woman than proffered 
by man, has been sullied by the usual selfishness. 
So much is said of women being better educated 
that they may become better companions and 
mothers for men. They should be fit for such 
companionship. . . . But a being of infinite 
scope must not be treated with an exclusive 
view to any one relation." And then she quotes 
with approval, " We must have units before 
we can have union." After which she goes 
on to point out that she is urging the greater 
independence of women not because she dis- 
believes in marriage but because she believes in 
it profoundly. 

" I wish woman to live first for God's sake," 


she explains. " Then she will not make an 
imperfect man her god and thus sink to idolatry. 
Then she will not take what is not fit for her 
from a sense of weakness and poverty. Then, 
if she finds what she needs in man embodied, 
she will know how to love and be worthy of 
being loved. Woman, self-centred, would never 
be absorbed by any relation; it would be only 
an experience to her as to man. It is a vulgar 
error that love, a love is to woman her whole 
existence. She also is born for Truth and Love 
in their universal energy." 

How far did Margaret Fuller measure up to 
her own high ideals in this matter of woman's 
relation to man? Did she, whom we have seen 
to be one of the most ardently affectionate 
natures of her time, steadfastly keep herself 
only for the highest kind of love.'' In her journal 
we find her prof oundest feeling about this whole 
matter: " No one loves me. But I love many 
a good deal and see some way into their eventual 
beauty. I am myself growing better and shall 
by and by be a worthy object of love, onelthat 
will not anywhere disappoint or need forbear- 
ance. ... I have no child, and the woman in 
me has so craved this experience that it has 
seemed the want of it must paralyze me. . . . 
I cannot always upbear my life all alone." 

Why had she never married.? Among the 
many men with whom she was on warm friendly 


relations was there no man who cared for her 
supremely and for whom she could care? Her 
niece has told me of a clever young Portland 
lawyer who might have been the man. But 
the first real evidence that we have of such love 
in her as she would have wished to give the 
man she might marry is to be found in the 
letters to James Nathan, whom she met very 
soon after her removal to New York (in 
December, 1844) for the purpose of connecting 
herself with Horace Greeley and his Tribune. 
Young Nathan was a Jew and it was this 
fact, very likely, which prevented his marriage 
to the woman to whom he undoubtedly made 
passionate love and from whom this love drew 
forth as noble love-letters as ever were sent to 
a man by a woman. But the letters should not 
have been published and would not have been 
had Nathan returned them to their writer as 
she asked him to do after she learned of his 
approaching alliance with one of his own race. 
That Margaret suffered a great deal while this 
love ran its troubled course is evident in almost 
every line of the letters. " You tell me to rest, 
mein Leibster," one passage towards the end 
of the correspondence runs, " but how can I 
rest when you rouse in me so many thoughts and 
feelings .P What good does it do for you to stay 
away when, absent or present, every hour 
you grow upon me and the root strikes to my 


inmost life? There is far more repose in being 
with you when your look fills my eye and your 
voice my ear, than in trying to keep still, for 
then these endless thoughts rush upon me. 
And then comes, too, that tormenting sense 
that only a few days more shall we be together, 
and how can I rest? " ^ So much did Margaret 
the wise care for this man that she even liked 
to have him call her a fool ! " I don't know 
that any words from your mouth gave me more 
pleasure," she writes, " than these, ' You must 
be a fool, little girl.' It seems so whimsical 
that they should be addressed to me, who was 
called on for wisdom and dignity, long before 
my leading strings were off." 

And yet, though he had " approached her, 
personally, nearer than any other person " 
and had " touched her heart and thrilled it at 
the centre," that heart as she proudly points 
out, " is a large kingdom." She would not let 
him or any man spoil her life. The last letter 
in the series is dated July 14, 1846. By the 
fall of that year the relation between the two 
had been definitively broken and, with one or 
two significant allusions in her diary,^ Margaret 
dismisses the whole matter. As for Nathan, 
he wedded his coreligionist and had several 

1 Reprinted from Love-Letters of Margaret Fuller, CopyrigM, 
1903, by D. Appleton and Company. 

2 These allusions are in French and may be examined at the 
Cambridge PubUc Library which now owns the Diary. 


children, dying peacefully (in 1889) in his own 
home at Hamburg, a very rich but blind old 
man. W. H. Channing, Margaret's biographer, 
once saw the letters and suggested, as he 
returned them to their owner, that perhaps 
it would be well to destroy them. But the one 
to whom they had been written thought other- 
wise and, in the summer of 1873, he wrote for 
them the preface which was used when the 
correspondence was published by his son fifteen 
years after his death. 

It appears to have been the rebound from 
this unhappy love affair which precipitated 
Margaret Fuller into the alliance in which, 
at last, her hungry heart found abundant solace. 
She sailed from Boston in August, 1846, to 
enjoy with friends a long-deferred period of 
European travel, in the course of which she 
met Wordsworth, Mazzini, Carlyle, George 
Sand and many other literary celebrities. In 
Venice she parted with the friends who had 
thus far been her companions, and returned to 
settle in Rome and work for the cause of revolu- 
tionary Italy. To Emerson she wrote that she 
had at last found the work for which she had 
long been looking. She also found now the love 
which was to crown her life by her marriage 
to the young Marquis d'Ossoli. 

Margaret first met Ossoli in 1847, while at 
vespers at St. Peter's. The following winter 


she took an apartment in the Corso in Rome, 
and the young marquis was often there drawn 
to his new friend by her interest in the republican 
cause, which he had espoused, as well as by 
what seems to have been a very real passion on 
his part. In the intervals of nursing his aged 
father he ardently pursued his wooing, telling 
Margaret repeatedly " that he must marry her 
or be miserable." " She refused to look on him 
as a lover," relates Mrs. William W- Story, 
who was her confidant, " and insisted that it 
was not fitting, — that it was best he should 
marry a younger woman [he was thirty and 
she was nearly thirty -eight] ; that she would be 
his friend but not his wife. In this way it 
rested for some weeks, during which we saw 
Ossoli pale, dejected, and unhappy. He was 
always with her, but in a sort of hopeless, 
desperate manner, until at length he convinced 
her of his love and she married him." 

The absurd story which, even today, is re- 
peated from time to time, that Ossoli was un- 
educated and that he ill-treated his wife, I 
should not even refer to were there not always 
so many people who prefer to think badly of 
Italians as husbands. He had the education 
of an Italian gentleman of his time, and if it 
had been possible to reproduce here the too- 
faded daguerreotype — the only known picture 
of him — which Colonel Higginson owns we 






should have seen that Ossoli was exactly the 
man to love and be loved by Margaret Fuller. 
A poetic face, his, in which one reads the possi- 
bility of high patriotism and of the finest 
chivalry! But he was never able to talk to 
his wife in her own tongue; their beautiful 
love-letters, which were saved from the wreck 
in which they and their baby perished, were 
all written in Italian. As for the secrecy of 
their marriage: that was because of Ossoli's 
close relation to the Papal household and by 
reason of the fact that an alliance with a for- 
eigner (who was a Protestant) would probably 
have cut him off from his share of his father's 
fortune. Colonel Higginson quotes a letter 
from Mrs. Story which quite effectively gives 
the lie to those who would believe this strange 
union not a success, however. " Ossoli's manner 
towards Margaret was devoted and lover-like 
to a degree. He cared not how trivial was the 
service if he might perform it for her. I re- 
member to have seen him, one morning, after 
they had been married nearly two years, set 
off on an errand to get the handle of her parasol 
mended, with as much genuine knightly zeal 
as if the charge had been a much weightier one. 
As he took it he said, ' How sweet it is to do 
little things for you ! ' . . . He never wished 
her to give up any pleasure because he could not 
share it, but if she were interested he would go 


with her to any house, leave her and call again 
to take her home. Such tender unselfish love 
I have rarely seen before; it made green her 
days and gave her an expression of peace and 
serenity which before was a stranger to her." 

Margaret herself wrote (February 5, 1850) 
to Mrs. Marcus Spring, with whom she had gone 
abroad : "I have expected that those who cared 
for me simply for my activity of intellect would 
not care for Ossoli; but those in whom the moral 
nature predominates would gladly learn to 
love and admire him and see what a treasure 
his affection must be to me." ^ Which makes 
one feel how true a word was that which the 
American consul in Turin sent to Emerson a 
year after Ossoli with his wife and child had 
drowned off Fire Island, " It is abundantly 
evident that Margaret's young husband dis- 
charged all the obligations of his relation to 
her con amore. His admiration amounted to 
veneration, and her yearning to be loved 
seemed at last to be satisfied." 

1 Quoted in Sanborn's Autobiography. 



IN these present days of social unrest, when 
a compact minority of American citizens 
are sure that certain definite things in the 
government of our country are very wrong, — 
although regretfully admitting that they see 
no immediate prospect of their effective better- 
ment, — it should rebuke their faint-heartedness 
and cheer their souls to reflect that the great 
work of that other minority known as Aboli- 
tionists was accomplished in about thirty years. 
The men who set this tremendous movement in 
motion actually lived to see their cause won and 
were obliged to look about for further evils in 
need of devoted service! 

The speed with which this far-reaching reform 
was brought about may be credited chiefly to 
the fact that God raised up for the work two 
men, Wendell Phillips and William Lloyd Gar- 
rison, who did practically nothing else but 
agitate their cause until the day had been won. 
Of Phillips I speak at length in another chapter. 
Let us here, therefore, pass at once to the simple 


annals of Garrison's great life and to a considera- 
tion of the conditions which he had to confront 
as he began his work. For he it was who 
created, almost single-handed, the moral force 
which overthrew slavery. When we consider 
the resistance which he overcame, the result 
achieved must be regarded, as James Freeman 
Clarke has pointed out,^ "as an unexampled 
triumph of pure truth. The slaves held in the 
Southern States were valued, at the time of 
the Civil War, at about three thousand millions 
of dollars. Added to this pecuniary interest 
was the value of cotton lands, sugar plantations 
and rice fields cultivated exclusively by slaves. 
And beside the powerful money motive for 
maintaining slavery there were the force of 
custom, the habits engendered by despotism, 
pride, prejudice and hatred of outside inter- 
ference. These interests and feelings gradually 
united the whole South in a determined hos- 
tility to emancipation; and men professing 
anti-slavery principles could not live safely 
in the slaveholding states. 

" This united South," continues Dr. Clarke, 
" had for its allies at the North both the great 
political parties, the commercial and manu- 
facturing interests, nearly the whole press, and 
both extremes of society. Abolition was equally 
obnoxious in the parlors of the wealthy and to 

' In the Memorial History of Boston, 


the crowd of roughs in the streets, — fashion 
and the mob being for once united by a common 
enmity. It was against this immense weight 
of opposition that the Abolitionists contended; 
and their strength consisted wholly in the 
justice of their cause and the enthusiasm which 
that cause inspired." 

Of this enthusiasm Boston was preeminently 
the breeding-place. Garrison made no mistake 
in early migrating to the town which had long 
ago shown itself intolerant of oppression. Even 
in those early days when many Boston folk 
held slaves, the sentiment of the people as a 
whole was opposed to slavery. In 1646 the 
General Court ordered a negro stolen from 
Africa and brought to Boston to be sent back to 
the place from which he had been led away 
captive. In 1701 the Selectmen of Boston passed 
a vote requesting the Representatives to " put 
a period to negroes being slaves." In 1766 
and 1767 votes were passed in town-meeting 
instructing its representatives " That for the 
total abolishing of slavery among us. That you 
move for a law to prohibit the importation 
and purchasing of slaves for the future." In 
1770 occurred the case of Prince Boston, who 
was hired and paid wages by a Quaker in 
Nantucket, — Elisha Folger; and when his 
owner brought an action for the recovery of his 
slave, the jury returned a verdict against the 


owner, and Prince Boston was manumitted 
by the magistrates. As for the attitude on this 
big question of the Bostonians who fought to 
throw off the yoke of George III it is very well 
expressed in the words of Samuel Adams who, 
with the words, " Surry must be free on crossing 
the threshold of my house," declined to receive 
as property a negro girl offered to his wife as 
a present. 

Cotton Mather, to be sure, had been burdened 
with no such scruples. There is an entry in 
his diary of 1706 in which he records that he 
had " received a singular blessing " in the gift 
of " a very likely slave," which was " a mighty 
smile of Heaven upon his family." And at 
the very time when Adams scorned the gift 
of a slave, Boston folk of " respectability " 
were trafficking in men and women — at arm's 
length. Nor was slavery ever explicitly abol- 
ished in Massachusetts, though " in the famous 
Jennison case tried at Worcester in 1781, it 
was declared that slavery no longer existed." 
(Justin Winsor, Memorial History of Boston, 
Volume IV, page 6.) 

So there is no doubt that while Boston was a 
pretty good place for Garrison to choose as his 
residence, it was not one in which his labors 
would be thrown away. Joseph T. Buckingham 
of the Boston Courier had printed two sonnets 
written in prison by the young Newburyporter 


before the office of the Liberator was opened 
on Water Street; but that by no means implies 
that an over-cordial welcome would be ex- 
tended to a man who had set himself to the 
task of freeing all the slaves in the land. 
Too many Boston folk were making a great 
deal of money out of slavery and its associated 

Garrison's father was a sea captain, and his 
mother was a deeply religious Baptist. Thus 
heredity had endowed him with strength and 
personal courage on the one hand^ and with 
deep and fervid religious faith on the other. 
Three years after Lloyd's birth (on December 
10, 1805) the captain-father left his wife and 
children nevermore to return. It is believed 
that he found the temptations to intemperance 
oflFered by the seaport town of Newburyport 
more than he could bear, and to avoid disgracing 
his family, decided to live away from them. 
Thus it fell out that William Lloyd Garrison 
was early thrown upon his own resources for 
a livelihood, — and that his strong-souled 
mother became to him, while he was a tiny lad, 
all that two parents riaight have been. While 
yet too small comfortably to support the 
weight of a lapstone, he was apprenticed to a 
shoemaker, but that occupation proving un- 
congenial, a place in a printing office was found 
for him. This work he liked and so graduated. 


at the age of twenty, from an apprenticeship 
into the position of a self -publishing editor. 

The chance of falling in, two years later 
(1828), with Benjamin Lundy, editor of the 
Genius of Universal Emancipation, set our young 
journalist in the current which was to bear him 
on to ever-increasing fame and usefulness. 
Lundy was an interesting figure, a Quaker, 
who travelled about from town to town, mostly 
on foot, carrying a heavy pack containing 
among other things the head rules, column 
rules and subscription book of his paper. When 
he came to a town where he found a printing 
office he would stop long enough to get out 
and mail a number of Genius. His writings 
were aflame with hatred for slavery and de- 
termination to put it down, and when one of 
his shabby little sheets found its way to 
the office in Bennington, Vermont, over which 
Garrison was now presiding as editor, its burning 
words inspired that youth to take the first 
definite step of his thirty years' war against 
slave-holding. Forthwith he wrote a petition 
for the abolition of slavery in the District of 
Columbia, which he sent to all the postmasters 
in the State of Vermont, begging them to procure 
signatures thereto. And since, in that day, 
postmasters enjoyed the privilege of receiving 
and sending letters free of postage, the petition 
was quite bulky when it arrived in Congress. 


It immediately caused the slave-holding con- 
stituency to sit up and take notice of — William 
Lloyd Garrison. 

Lundy, naturally, was immensely pleased at 
the ardor and resourcefulness of his new recruit, 
and in order to make him an offer of partnership 
walked all the way from Boston to Bennington, 
staff in hand and pack on back. The result of 
this conference was their joint proprietorship for 
a time of the Genius. The paper was now 
issued weekly from Baltimore, to which city 
young Garrison removed. 

Garrison believed in immediate emancipation 
and wrote all his articles to this end, signing 
them with his initials that they might easily 
be distinguished from those of Lundy, who 
believed in getting the slaves emancipated 
gradually. Inevitably the younger editor soon 
got the sheet and himself into hot water. Balti- 
more was one of the principal marts of the 
domestic slave trade and Francis Todd of New- 
buryport was the owner of a vessel which 
now came to that port to take to New Orleans 
a cargo of eighty-eight slaves. Here was a 
first-rate case of Northern complicity in the 
infamous traffic, and Garrison lost no time in 
vigorously denouncing Todd for his share in 
a transaction which, as he pointed out, was in 
no way different in principle from taking a 
cargo of human flesh on the coast of Africa 


and carrying it across the ocean to market. 
The law denounced the foreign slave trade as 
piracy, but the domestic slave trade was every 
whit as wicked in the sight of God, declared 
Garrison. A libel suit instituted by Todd fol- 
lowed hard upon the publication of this article, 
and as a trial in a slave-holding court before a 
slave-holding jury could have but one outcome. 
Garrison soon found himself in jail for lack of 
the wherewithal to pay the fifty dollars fine 
imposed upon him. 

Now it was that he wrote the two sonnets 
which Joseph Buckingham was moved to pub- 
lish in the Boston Courier. They had been 
inscribed with a pencil on the walls of the 
prisoner's cell and were entitled " Freedom of 
the Mind " and " The Guiltless Prisoner." 
After seven weeks of confinement Garrison's 
fine was paid by Arthur Tappan, a leading New 
York merchant, who had been a reader of the 
Genius, and who was glad thus to come to the 
rescue of its plucky junior editor. 

To publish a paper of his own was that editor's 
next adventure. Boston had been decided 
upon as the background for the experiment 
not only because it promised as much hos- 
pitality as any city to such an undertaking but 
also because Garrison had come to know the 
place pretty well and to be fond of it during 
the year or so passed there, in a printing office, 


just after his majority. In the story of his 
Ufe as told by his children, a wonderful 
four volume work which, with Johnson's Will- 
iam Lloyd Garrison and His Times, must be 
absorbed by all who would understand Garrison 
in his wholeness, — we are told that at this 
earlier period the color and glamour of Boston 
appealed as strongly to Garrison as to any 
healthy young man come to the metropolis 
from a small town. To see at church the lovely 
face of Miss Emily Marshall, who was renowned 
the country over for her beauty and charm, he 
even forsook, temporarily, the Baptist fold 
of his mother and the very great attraction 
offered by the preaching of William Ellery 
Channing and John Pierpont, reformers both. 
So strongly had the joys of the city impressed 
itself upon him that, while incarcerated in Balti- 
more jail, he even wrote some verses about 
Boston Common during the festival period 
called " Election Week! " 

Election Day and its attendant joys appear 
to have appealed particularly to the Aboli- 
tionist mind, very likely because it was " every- 
body's day; and emphatically the colored 
people's." The blacks were wont to flock out 
in great numbers from what was known as 
" Nigger Hill," the lower part of Joy Street, 
and Frederick W. G. May, years afterwards,^ 
sent to Mrs. Ednah Dow Cheney for repro- 


duction in her Reminiscences a very vivid 
description of the ensuing festival. " The 
wooden fence of the Common from Park Street 
corner to and beyond West Street was lined 
with booths and stalls where eatables and 
drinkables were exposed for sale by white and 
colored salesmen and saleswomen. Even oysters 
by the saucerful at fo 'pence ha'penney (six and 
a quarter cents) found eager buyers; lobsters, 
too, and candy by the ton, it seemed to my 
young eyes; cakes in variety, doughnuts, ginger- 
nuts; lemonade, spruce beer, ginger beer, etc. 
One specially delightful feature was the ambula- 
tory stall, an ordinary handcart .... furbished 
up and fitted with a tilt or hood to shield its 
delicacies from the sun, dust, etc.; inside were 
boxes and shelves with the innumerable cakes 
that the well-bred baker then could furnish, 
buns with actual currants on them, jumbles, 
waffles and I know not what else, seed cakes, — 
I can see and smell them now, — President 
Biscuit, etc. These carts would literally cover 
the field as the tide of mimic war ebbed and 
flowed. . . . These laudable chariots carried 
baked beans and similar necessities of Boston- 
Beverly life, — brown bread hot, etc. — their 
proprietors and motive power being genial 
old darkey ladies with genuine wool and 
gay-colored head handkerchiefs in the latest 
Southern style. This was Nigger 'lection. 


— the colored people very much in evi- 

Just here, because of the allusion to " Nigger 
Hill," it is interesting to give Mrs. Cheney's 
explanation ^ of the way in which Joy Street got 
its name. About 1820, when her parents took 
a house on that thoroughfare it bore the name 
of Belknap Street. Then as now it ran from 
Beacon Street to Cambridge Street and was 
divided by cross streets into three parts " which 
at that time pretty well represented three grades 
of society. In the upper part were some of the 
finest houses and most ' swell ' people in the 
city. In the middle part were families of good 
standing, and in this part was our house. The 
lower part was almost entirely occupied by 
colored people, who streamed by our house and 
gave us children that early familiarity with 
this race which, thank God, has prevented me 
from having any difficulty in recognizing the 
' negro as a man and a brother.' But the upper 
ten did not relish the idea of giving their ad- 
dresses on Belknap Street so associated with 
the despised race, and they petitioned the city 
government to change the name of their portion 
to Joy. Of course the middle class are but too 
prone to mimic the manners of the rich, and they 
next asked to have their portion renamed. It 
is a democratic country and therefore the lower 

* Reminiscences of Ednah Dow Cheney. 


portion of the street wished for its Joy also, 
and so the good old name of Belknap, once 
belonging to a worthy divine, was given up 
and has never been used again." ^ It is interest- 
ing to add that Joy Street still represents the 
" three grades of society." 

' The Boston Courier had published the sonnets 
which Garrison wrote while in prison. In the 
advertising columns of that sheet, therefore, 
the young reformer — who was now resolved 
to make a place for himself in Boston — 
printed, on October 12, 1830, this advertisement: 

Wanted. — For three evenings, a Hall or 
Meeting-house (the latter would be preferred) 
in which to vindicate the rights of two millions 
of American citizens who are now groaning in 
servile chains in this boasted land of liberty; 
and also to propose just, benevolent, and con- 
stitutional measures for their relief. As the 
addresses will be gratuitous, and as the cause is 
of public benefit, I cannot consent to remunerate 
any society for the use of its building. If this 
application fails, I propose to address the citi- 
zens of Boston in the open air, on the Common. 

Wm. Lloyd Garrison. 
; No. 30, Federal Street, Oct. 11, 1830. 

Two days later the papers announced that 
Mr. Garrison would deliver his first lecture, on 

' It survives, however, in Belknap Place which leads oS Joy 


Friday evening, October 15, in Julien Hall, 
at the northwest corner of Milk and Congress 
Streets. The body which had offered him the 
hospitality of its headquarters was made up 
of avowed " infidels," men who had no personal 
acquaintance with Garrison and no especial 
sympathy with his cause; men, too, whose sect 
he had recently denounced in public. It was 
with deep shame for his Christian brethren, 
we may be sure, that Garrison accepted their 
hospitality. While he thanked them for their 
courtesy he declared his firm belief that slavery 
could be abolished only through the power of 
the Gospel and of Christian religion. 

A good many prominent Christians were 
among those who came to hear that lecture in 
the hall of the " infidels." Dr. Lyman Beecher, 
then the head of the Orthodox pulpit in Boston, 
was there. So was Rev. Ezra S. Gannett, a 
well-known Unitarian divine, Samuel E. Sewall, 
a young lawyer whose famous ancestor. Judge 
Samuel Sewall, had been one of the earliest 
opponents of slavery in America,' Bronson 
Alcott, the Concord oracle, and Rev. Samuel 
J. May, afterwards very distinguished in the 
anti-slavery movement. Mr. May has thus 
described the occasion: 

" Presently the young man arose, modestly, 
but with an air of calm determination, and 

» See St. Botolph's Town, p. 282 et seq. 


delivered such a lecture as he only, as I believe, 
at that time could have written; for he, only, 
had had his eyes so anointed that he could 
see that outrages perpetrated upon Africans 
were wrongs done to our common humanity; 
he, only, I believe, had had his ears so com- 
pletely unstopped of ' prejudice against color ' 
that the cries of enslaved black men and black 
women sounded to him as if they came from 
brothers and sisters. . . . 

" Never before," declares May, " was I so 
affected by the speech of any man. When he 
had ceased speaking I said to those around me: 
' That is a providential man; he is a prophet; 
he will shake our nation to its centre, but he 
will shake slavery out of it. We ought to 
know him and we ought to help him. Come, 
let us go and give him our hands.' Mr. Sewall 
and Mr. Alcott went up with me and we intro- 
duced each other. I said to him: ' Mr. Garri- 
son, I am not sure I can endorse all you have 
said this evening. Much of it requires careful 
consideration. But I am prepared to embrace 
you. I am sure you are called to a great work 
and I mean to help you.' Mr. Sewall cordially 
assured him of his readiness, also, to cooperate 
with him. Mr. Alcott invited him to his home. 
He went and we sat with him until twelve that 
night, listening to his discourse, in which he 
showed plainly that immediate, unconditional 


emancipation without expatriation, was the 
right of every slave and could not be withheld 
by his master an hour without sin. That night 
my soul was baptized in his spirit, and ever 
since I have been a disciple and fellow-laborer 
of William Lloyd Garrison. 

" The next morning, immediately after break- 
fast, I went to his boarding-house and stayed 
imtil two p. M. I learned that he was poor, 
dependent upon his daily labor for his daily 
bread and intending to return to the printing 
business. But, before he could devote himself 
to his own support, he felt that he must deliver 
his message, must communicate to persons of 
prominent influence what he had learned of 
the sad condition of the enslaved, and the 
institutions and spirit of the slave-holders; 
trusting that all true and good men would 
discharge the obligation pressing upon them 
to espouse the cause of the poor, the oppressed, 
the down-trodden. He read to me letters he 
had addressed to Dr. Channing, Dr. Beecher, 
Dr. Edwards, the Hon. Jeremiah Mason, and 
Hon. Daniel Webster, holding up to their 
view the tremendous iniquity of the land and 
begging them, ere it should be too late, to 
interpose their great power in the Church and 
State to save our country from the terrible 
calamities which the sin of slavery was bringing 
upon us. These letters were eloquent, solemn, 


impressive. I wonder they did not produce a 
greater effect." 

Oliver Johnson, who knew Garrison well, and 
has written very enthusiastically of his life 
and work, has an explanation to offer as to the 
" why " of this, and any of us who have had 
experience with reform movements in which 
the church is involved will appreciate the truth 
of what he says. Unhappily, the influences 
which chiefly sustained slavery were supplied 
by the people of the North. And these people 
were the same ones who were supporting in 
their pulpits the clergy to whom Mr. Garrison 
had addressed his letters ! " The pulpit was 
thus sorely tempted," commeiits Mr. Johnson, 
" to swerve from the laws of humanity and 
rectitude and become the apologist if not the 
defender of slavery." Dr. Lyman Beecher, 
whose daughter was to do more than any other 
woman in the world to help in the overthrow 
of slavery, lost a golden opportunity at this 
juncture of immortality on his own account. 
Garrison greatly admired Beecher, who was 
then at the head of the Orthodox pulpit in 
Boston (though his former church-home on 
Hanover Street had just been burned and the 
new building of his society on Bowdoin Street — 
now known as the Church of St. John the 
Evangelist — was not yet completed), and in 
all simplicity and trust he turned to him for 


support. " I have too many irons in the fire 
already," was the Doctor's evasive answer. 
" Then," said Garrison, solemnly, " you had 
better let all your irons burn than neglect your 
duty to the slave." Whereupon, not having 
arguments to offer, Beecher withdrew into his 
robes of office, as many another priest has done 
before and since, replying grandiosely, " Your 
zeal, young man, is commendable, but you are 
misguided. If you will give up your fanatical 
notions and be led by us (the clergy) we will 
make you the Wilberforce of America." 

Rev. Samuel J. May, however, was a different 
type of man and, on the very next Sunday 
after he had heard Garrison's lectures, he 
endorsed from the pulpit of Rev. Alexander 
Young, at Church Green in Summer Street, 
which he chanced to be supplying, the doctrines 
which this new prophet had come to preach. 
In concluding his sermon he said, " I have been 
prompted to speak thus by the words I have 
heard during the past week from a young man 
hitherto unknown, but who is, I believe, called 
of God to do a greater work for the good of 
our country than has been done by anyone 
since the Revolution. I mean William Lloyd 
Garrison. He is going to repeat his lectures 
the coming week. I advise, I exhort, I entreat — 
would that I could compel ! — you to go and hear 
him." It takes a finely sensitized conscience 


to recognize a prophet of righteousness as soon 
as one has made his acquaintance, and it takes 
a very high kind of courage to declare to hostile 
hearers one's belief that they should heed the 
message of such a man. All honor, therefore, 
to Samuel J. May, for that he had the heart 
to feel and the grit to proclaim the advent in 
Boston of him who had been sent of God 
expressly to strike the shackles from the lacer- 
ated limbs of the slave. ^ 

Happily, Garrison had a literary sense as 
well as a compelling ethical ideal; he stead- 
fastly refused to call the paper about to be 
born the Safety Lamp, as suggested by Mr. 
Sewall, insisting that there be given to it the 
bold and appropriate title of the Liberator. 
The first number of the epoch-making sheet 
appeared on Saturday, January 1, 1831. Even 
for that day of small things in the publishing 
line it was an unimpressive sheet, a folio of four 
pages fourteen inches in length by nine and 
three-tenths in width, printed after hours in 
the office of the Christian Examiner in return 
for its proprietor's services in the day time. 
At first the title was in black-letter, but, at 
the end of four months, this form was changed, 
and by 1850 an engraved head, which well 

' How much " grit " this required may be seen from the fact that 
a friend of May's father condoled with the old gentleman in all 
seriousness next day, saying, " I cannot tell you how much I pity 
you; I hear your son went crazy at Church Green yesterday." 


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Page 100. 












repays careful examination, was being used. 
Hammatt Billings made the final design, which 
is of exceeding interest to us today in that 
the whole story of slavery is there told pic- 
torially. In the background is seen the capitol 
of the United States, with a, flag upon which is 
inscribed the word " Liberty " floating over 
the dome. In front is an auctioneer's stand 
with the sign, " Slaves, horses and other cattle 
in lots to suit the purchaser," — and a whipping 
post showing a slave under the lash. Balancing 
this — in the Billings design — is an allegorical 
presentation of life among the blacks when 
Emancipation has been declared. And between 
stands Christ and his cross with the scripture 
line, " I come to break the bonds of the op- 

The hardships under which the paper was 
gotten out during its early years are a classic 
tale today; but I like to rename them none 
the less. Garrison slept in his office (the 
generosity of the Christian Examiner lasted 
for the first three issues only) with the mailing 
table for a bed and a book for his pillow. His 
scanty meals he prepared himself, and he set 
up with his own hand the articles which he 
printed, composing them as he went along. In 
their first issue Garrison and his co-publisher, 
Isaac Knapp, had announced their determina- 
tion to print the paper as long as they might be 


able to subsist upon bread and water, and this 
was no empty boast. For a year and a half the 
two men actually had no food except such as 
could be obtained at a baker's shop opposite 
and a tiny fruitshop in the basement of their 
building. A friendly cat cheered their loneliness 
and Mr. Johnson recalls that Garrison, who 
was fond of animals, would often be found 
writing while the cat, mounted on the table 
by his side, caressed his bald forehead in a most 
affectionate way. 

In his first number Garrison declared " I 
am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will 
not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — 
and I will be heard." ^ Yet he avowed from the 
very start his opposition to war and violence 
under every circumstance. Naturally, however, 
the slaveholders could not see the matter quite 
as Garrison did, and when the Liberator's plain 
heading gave way, in the seventeenth number 
of the paper, to a cut showing slaves being sold 
at auction, they with one voice declared the 
sheet " incendiary " and began to clamor for 
its suppression. A highly respectable and very 
conservative journal published at Washington, 

' The Liberator was needed, for one searches in vain for mention 
in such a paper as the Advertiser, for instance, of American slavery 
as an institution to be deplored. On the front page of this sheet, 
the year the Liberator was started, I find, however, in one day 
long articles reprobating slavery in England, and oppression in 
Russia and Poland! 


the National Intelligencer, appealed to " the 
intelligent population of New England " and 
specifically to Harrison Gray Otis, then mayor 
of Boston, to prevent the further publication of 
the Liberator, asserting that in printing such a 
paper Garrison was performing " a crime as 
great as that of poisoning a well." 

Otis had never heard of the Liberator when 
his attention was thus called to its deadly 
influence, but, in answer to the appeal he pro- 
cured a copy and examined it carefully. Then 
he had its publication-office sought out and 
finding it to be " an obscure hole " did not 
bother himself much further about the matter. 
The State of Georgia, however, actually passed 
a law offering $5,000 for the conviction of 
those responsible for the paper's publication 
or for its circulation within the bounds of that 
State! '- I ^- > 

\ Meanwhile, the prophet went serenely on his 
way, getting out his little sheet regularly, and 
speaking, writing and talking everywhere his 
doctrine of immediate emancipation. Many 
who believed in freeing the slaves did not 
at all agree with him in his insistence that 
" now is the accepted hour for taking that 
righteous step." Gradual emancipation and 
education the while for all blacks was what they 
counselled. But Garrison argued thus simply: 
" Slavery is wrong. Every wrong act should be 


immediately abandoned. Therefore slavery 
ought at once to cease. Do right and leave the 
results to God." When pressed as to the con- 
sequences of this doctrine, he would explain 
that he did not mean that all slaveholders 
should turn their slaves out of doors, but that 
they should recognize that the blacks are free 
and be only their temporary guardian; that 
they should allow those who might wish to 
leave to go away whither they would, and should 
pay wages to all who should desire to remain. 
" Slavery is the holding of a human being as 
property." This definition, hit upon by Rev. 
Amos A. Phelps of Boston, himself soon to 
become a zealous Abolitionist, contained all 
that was necessary to justify to Garrison the 
stand he had found it imperative to take. 
For a creature with an immortal soul could 
not be " property." 

Thus far, — for nearly a year, — the Liberator 
had been the organ of no organization; it had 
merely expressed the views of its high-minded 
editor. But the time was now come for the 
formation of a society which should have for 
its purpose the overthrow of slavery. The first 
meeting to form such a society was held on 
Nov. 13, 1831, in the office of Mr. Sewall, and 
on December 16 there followed another. The 
names of those present at the second meeting, 
besides Garrison and Sewall, were Ellis Gray 


Loring and David Lee Child, Boston lawyers; 
Isaac Knapp, publisher of the Liberator; Samuel 
J. May, then settled in Brooklyn, Connecticut; 
Oliver Johnson, William J. Snelling, Alonzo 
Lewis, Dr. Abner Phelps, Rev. Mr. Blanchard 
(editor of an anti-masonic religious paper) and 
Gamaliel Bradford. A constitution was drafted 
by Ellis Gray Loring and Oliver Johnson, but it 
was voted to adjourn until January 6, at which 
time said constitution should be adopted. 

The ensuing meeting — held in the school- 
room of the African Baptist Church ^ on Smith 
Court, off Joy Street — was one which is a 
landmark in American history. Writing nearly 
fifty years afterwards, Oliver Johnson, who had 
been the youngest person present, said of the 
occasion, " My recollections of the evening are 
very vivid. A fierce north-east storm, combin- 
ing snow, rain, and hail in about equal pro- 
portions, was raging and the streets were full 
of slush. They were dark, too, for the city of 
Boston in those days was very economical 
of light on ' Nigger Hill.' But the twelve 
white men who there signed the Constitution 
of the first association ever organized in this 
country for the purpose of freeing the blacks 
were not easily to be discouraged by the frowns 

' The building still stands but is now a synagogue, one of the 
32 in Boston wherein worship more than 80,000 Jews; previous to 
1840 the family of Peter Spitz represented the only Jews in Boston. 


of nature. As they were stepping out into the 
storm and darkness, all echoed in their hearts 
the words of their inspired leader, ' We have 
met to-night in this obscure school-house; our 
numbers are few and our influence limited; 
but, mark my prediction, Faneuil Hall shall 
ere long echo with the principles we have set 
forth. We shall shake the nation by their 
mighty power.' " This speech and the occasion 
which called it forth should take its place in 
history alongside of Franklin's famous bon mot 
at a similarly crucial point in American affairs. 
" Gentlemen, if we do not all hang together 
we shall all hang separately." Great is the pity 
that no Rembrandt has arisen among Americans 
to send down through the ages the shadowy 
interior of that " obscure school-house " in 
which, while storm and sleet were raging outside, 
this bravest of all American ventures was 
launched by a little handful of devoted Boston 

Within a year after the formation of the 
New England Anti-Slavery Society the women 
interested in freedom for the slave formed an 
organization, also. They appear not to have 
been invited to the meeting held in the African 
Church, but Garrison was quick to see that this 
was an injustice and he soon (in 1832) introduced 
a Ladies' Department into his paper and fol- 
lowed up that important step by declaring his 


belief that " the cause of bleeding humanity is 
always, legitimately, the cause of woman" and 
asserting his strong desire that women should 
work with men to right the great wrong of 
slavery. " A million females in this country," 
he added, " are recognized and held as property 
— liable to be sold or used for the gratification 
of the lust or avarice or convenience of un- 
principled speculators — without the least pro- 
tection of their chastity. . . . Have these no 
claims upon the sympathies — prayers — chari- 
ties — exertions of our white countrywomen? 

" ' When woman's heart is bleeding. 
Shall woman's voice be hushed? ' " 

Woman's voice had already begun to be heard 
concerning other issues and the Boston Female 
Anti-Slavery Society — founded October 14, 
1832, by a little group of ladies — promptly 
began to make its influence felt in regard to this 
cause, also. Lydia Maria Child, Maria Weston 
Chapman, and her sisters, the Misses Weston, 
Louisa Loring, the wife of Ellis Gray Loring, 
Eliza Lee FoUen, Susan Cabot, and the lady 
who was afterwards to become Mrs. Wendell 
Phillips were a few of those who, through the 
new organization, were soon doing yeoman 
service for the Abolitionist cause. In the sum- 
mer of 1833 Lydia Maria Child published her 
famous Appeal In Favor of That Class of 
Americans. JJ ailed Africans, a, work which 


cost her very much in income and in social 
position. When she first met Garrison she was 
the most successful woman writer and editor 
in the United States. But she wrote later in 
life, " he got hold of the strings of my conscience 
and pulled me into reform work. It is no use 
to imagine what might have been if I had never 
seen him. Old dreams vanished, old associates 
departed, and all things became new. A new 
stimulus seized my whole being and carried me 
whithersoever it would. I could not do other- 
wise, so help me God." 

One important service rendered to the cause 
by Mrs. Child was her share in the conversion 
of William EUery Channing, then in the height 
of his influence and fame. John Pierpont, of 
the Hollis Street church, Amos A. Phelps, 
Charles Follen and Samuel J. May were 
clergymen who had already rallied to the 
standard of Garrison. Channing, however, had 
not yet taken the decisive step. During a visit 
to the West Indies (in 1830) occasioned by ill 
health, he had been much impressed with the 
wrong and evil of slavery and on his return to 
Boston he began to express himself on the 
subject. Then Mrs. Child took him in hand 
and " at every interview," she writes, " I could 
see that he grew bolder and stronger on the 
subject, while I felt that I grew wiser and more 
just. At first I thought him timid and even 


slightly timeserving, but I soon discovered 
that I had formed this estimate from ignorance 
of his character. I learned that it was justice 
to all, not popularity for himself, which made 
him so cautious. He constantly grew upon 
my respect, until I came to regard him as the 
wisest as well as the gentlest apostle of hu- 
manity." j" 

To Samuel J. May is due the credit for the 
definitive crossing-over of Channing to the 
side of the Garrisonians. The doctor had been 
expressing to Mr. May his agreement with 
the Abolitionists in all their essential doctrines, 
but his disapproval, none the less, of their harsh 
denunciations, violent language and frequent 
injustice to their opponents. To which at 
last Mr. May replied: "If this is so, Sir, 
it is your fault. You have held your peace 
and the stones have cried out. If we, who are 
obscure men, silly women, babes in knowledge, 
commit those errors, why do not such men as 
yourself speak and show us the right way.'' " 
To which came, after a long pause, the answer, 
" Brother May, I acknowledge the justice of 
your reproof. I have been silent too long." 

But after that he was silent no longer. By 
his work on Slavery, his letter to James G. 
Birney on "The Abolitionists" (1836) and 
his appearance with the reformers at the State 
House in that same year he made it very clear 


that he was with — and not against — the 
work of God and humanity. His attitude in 
this matter cost him many friends, too, and 
drew down upon his head a great deal of abuse. 
But he did not swerve in his devotion to the 
principles he had at length espoused. And, in 
that day, to stand firm required a great deal 
of faith as well as much personal courage. 
Bryant characterized the struggle as " a war- 
fare which would only end with life; a friendless 
warfare lingering through weary day and weary 
year, in which the timid good stood aloof, the 
sage frowned and the hissing bolt of scorn 
would too surely reach its aim." Actual violence 
was not unknown either. Miss Prudence Cran- 
dall, a Quaker yoiing woman of high character, 
who had made colored girls, also, eligible to 
her young ladies' school in Canterbury, Con- 
necticut, was for so doing arrested and thrown 
into jail after every attempt to starve or frighten 
her out of her position had been tried in vain. 
In New York mobs sacked the house of Lewis 
Tappan, brother of that generous soul who had 
paid Garrison's fine while in jail, and in Vermont 
Samuel J. May was mobbed five times in one 

To be sure, the language of the Abolitionists 
was not calculated to allay prejudice, once 
aroused. For, as Margaret Fuller strikingly 
put it, " The nation was deaf in regard to the 


evils of slavery; and those who have to speak 
to deaf people naturally acquire the habit of 
saying everything on a very high key." The 
Liberator was, indeed, " incendiary." In- all 
justice, therefore, we should admit that those 
Bostonians who honestly feared lest the violent 
speech which was being used by the reformers 
should endanger the peace of the land and 
result only in harm to all concerned, were not 
of necessity cowards or self-seekers. Often their 
dissent was merely, as to method. 

England meanwhile was supporting Mr. Gar- 
rison handsomely. In 1833 he was welcomed 
there with open arms by such men as Macaulay, 
Wilberforce, and O'Connell; and he became the 
close friend of George Thompson, the hero of 
the struggle for West India emancipation, — 
him of whom Lord Brougham said, in the 
House of Lords at the time of the passage of 
the Act of Emancipation, " I rise to take the 
crown of this most glorious victory from every 
other head and place it upon George Thomp- 
son's. He has done more than any other man 
to achieve it." Thompson was a very eloquent 
speaker, and Garrison felt strongly that, if he 
would come to America, the cause of Abolition 
here would be greatly advanced. Such, indeed, 
proved to be the case in many cities for, from 
the time Thompson landed in New York, in 
the fall of 1834, until he sailed again for home 


something over a year later, he made converts 
unnumbered. Frequently those who had come 
to scofif remained to pray, so wonderful was his 
eloquence, and so compelling his zeal for human 

Boston, however, lastingly disgraced herself 
by her attitude towards George Thompson, — 
though New York and Brooklyn were not far 
behind in their enmity. Mrs, Child, in a 
letter dated August 15, 1835, wrote thus to a 
Boston friend, " I am at Brooklyn, at the house 
of a very hospitable Englishman, a friend of 
Mr. Thompson's. I have not ventured into the 
city, nor does one of us dare to go to church 
today, so great is the excitement here. You can 
form no conception of it. 'Tis like the times of 
the French Revolution, when no man dares 
trust his neighbors. Private assassins from 
New Orleans are lurking at the corners of the 
streets to stab Arthur Tappan; and very large 
sums are offered for anyone who will convey 
Mr. Thompson into the slave States. . . . He is 
almost a close prisoner in his chamber, his 
friends deeming him in imminent peril the 
moment it is ascertained where he is. . . ." 
Within a week after these words were written, 
fifteen hundred prominent citizens of Boston 
appended their names to a call for a public 
meeting in Faneuil Hall to denounce agitation 
of slavery as putting in peril the existence of 


the Union. Harrison Gray Otis was one of those 
who, at this famous gathering, spoke eloquently 
against Thompson and the friends who were 
working with him for the overthrow of slavery. 
But though the Faneuil Hall meeting intensi- 
fied the feeling against Garrison and Thompson, 
it was not on that occasion, but two months 
later, when the Boston Female Anti-Slavery 
Society was holding its annual meeting, that the 
historic demonstration of Boston " gentlemen of 



That infamous foreign scoundrel THOMPSOIf , will 
hold forth this afternoon, at the Uberator Office, No^ 
48, Washington Street. The present is a fair opportv> 
nity for the friends «f the Union to gnake Thotupson 
out! It will be a contest between the Abolitionists and 
the friends of the Union. A purse of $100 has been 
raise*! hy a number of patriotic citizens to reward the 
indiTidual who shall first lay violent hands on Thompson, 
so that he may be brought to the tar kettle before dark. 
Friends of the Union, be Ti^nant! Ci * II IMS* 

Boston, Wednesday, 13i o'eloeJ!;. 

property and standing " occurred. The meeting 
was advertised to be held in the Society's hall, 
then numbered 46 Washington Street, midway 
between State Street and Cornhill, and an 
incendiary placard issued that same day at 
12 o'clock from the office of the Commercial 
Gazette announced that " the infamous foreign 


scoundrel, Thompson, will hold forth, this 
afternoon, at the Liberator office. . . . The 
present is a fair opportunity for the friends of 
the Union to snake Thompson out." It added 
that one hundred dollars had been raised to 
be paid to the man who should " first lay violent 
hands on Thompson, that he might be brought 
to the tar-kettle before dark." This handbill 
was distributed in all the places where people 
were in the habit of congregating, in the insur- 
ance offices, the reading-rooms, all along State 
Street, in the hotels and drinking places and 
among the mechanics at the North End. As 
a result there gathered from every quarter of 
the town men bent upon making trouble for 
Thompson. Between three and four o'clock 
there were, according to various estimates, 
from two to five thousand people packing both 
sides of Washington and State Streets in the 
neighborhood of the Old State House. 

Thompson was not at the meeting, however, 
nor was he expected. But Garrison was there 
to deliver a short address, and the ladies of the 
Society, inferring rightly that the crowd, cheated 
of its hoped-for victim, would try to rend Gar- 
rison, advised him to retire from the hall. 
This he prudently did, but instead of leaving 
the building, he went into the Liberator office, 
adjoining the hall, and there busied himself 
writing to a friend in a distant city an account 


of the riotous demonstrations going on outside. 
But the letter was never finished, for soon the 
marauders, who had rushed into the hall in 
search of him, were kicking out the panels of 
his office door and, but for the presence of 
mind of Charles C. Burleigh, would have seized 
him forthwith and dragged him out. Friends 
hustled Garrison into a carpenter's shop in 
the rear of the building and for a time he was 
safe. But the mob soon discovered his retreat 
and he was made to descend by a ladder into 
Wilson's Lane, now a part of Devonshire Street. 
Then he was seized by his enemies and dragged 
into State Street, in the rear of the Old State 
House. From the rough handling of the mob — 
they had thrown a rope around his body and 
torn the clothes from his back while disputing 
as to whether they should hang him or subject 
him to milder treatment, — Garrison was at 
length rescued by Mayor Lyman and his 
officers, who succeeded in getting him into the 
Old State House (then used as the City Hall 
and Post-office) through the south door. 

The howls of those who had been thus cheated 
of their victim now became so violent, and their 
acts grew so alarming, that, to save the old 
building and Garrison's life, it was hastily 
decided to commit him to jail as a disturber 
of the peace, and he was quickly smuggled out 
of the north door into a waiting hack. After 


a desperate struggle with the infuriated multi- 
tude, the horses started at break -neck speed 
through Court Street to Bowdoin Square, 
through Cambridge into Blossom Street, and 
thence to Leverett Street jail. And there, just 
around the corner from his own home at 23 
Brighton Street, the editor of the Liberator 
spent in a cell the night of October 21, 1835. 
The morning after his incarceration he made 
upon the walls of his cell this inscription: 
" William Lloyd Garrison was put into this 
cell on Wednesday afternoon, October 21, 1835, 
to save him from the violence of a respectable 
and influential mob, who sought to destroy him 
for preaching the abominable and dangerous 
doctrine that ' all men are created equal,' and 
that all oppression is odious in the sight of 
God. Hail Columbia! Cheers for the Autocrat 
of Russia and the Sultan of Turkey! Reader, 
let this inscription remain till the last slave 
in this despotic land be loosed from his fetters! " 
The ladies whose meeting had been so rudely 
interrupted made a brave attempt to pursue the 
object for which they had come together. 
Miss Mary S. Parker, the president, opened 
the exercises by reading a portion of Scripture, 
and then, in a sweet and serene voice, she 
offered a prayer for the cause of the slave and 
besought forgiveness for his oppressors. After 
the mob had burst inside their hall, however. 





From a daguerreotype taken in 18SS. 
Page 227. 


From a tlasjuerrcotype taken about 
1852, in the possession of Francis 
Jackson Garrison. 

Page 122. 


the mayor urged the ladies to retire, saying that 
it might not be in his power, with his small 
force, to protect them long. This they did, 
the police making a passage for them through 
the jeering crowd outside. Francis Jackson 
immediately invited them to conclude their 
meeting at his home on Hollis Street. He 
was determined that there should be free 
speech in Boston at whatever peril. But when 
Hollis Street was reached it was found that 
Mrs. Jackson was ill, so the meeting finished 
its business at the home of Mrs. Maria Weston 
Chapman, at No. 11 West Street. It was Mrs. 
Chapman who, earlier in the afternoon, had 
replied, — when Mayor Lyman had been urging 
that it was dangerous for the ladies to remain 
in their hall, — "If this is the last bulwark of 
freedom, we may as well die here ias anywhere." 
For almost two weeks after this affair Gar- 
rison, by the advice of his friends, secluded 
himself at Brooklyn, Connecticut, from which 
place, his wife, then in her twenty-fifth year 
and an expectant mother of her first child, 
wrote as follows of her emotions on the epoch- 
making day to Mrs. Chapman's sister: 

" Brooklyn, Oct. 31, 1835. 
" I thank you, my dear Miss Weston, for your 
kind letter, and the expressions of sympathy 
for me and mine which it contained. When I 


left you at Court Street and ascertained Mr. 
Garrison was not at the Liberator office, I 
comforted myself with the reflection that he 
had retired under the roof of some dear friend, 
where he was safe. I made a long call at a 
friend's house and then hastened home, with 
the fond anticipation of meeting him; but 
alas! you may judge of my feelings when my 
domestic informed me a gentleman had just 
left the house, who seemed exceedingly agitated, 
and very desirous of seeing me. In a few 
moments he returned, with a countenance 
which indicated excessive grief. I prepared 
myself for the worst, thihking all he would 
reveal to me could not surpass what I, in a 
few moments of suspense, had imagined the 
real danger might be. He kindly and feelingly 
related all that had transpired, from the time 
the ruffians seized him at the carpenter's shop 
and conveyed him to the mayor's office. 

" I put on my things with a full determination 
of seeing him, and ascertaining for a certainty 
how much injury he had received; but before 
I reached the office I met with several friends 
who dissuaded me from attempting it; and 
not thinking it expedient myself, when I was 
apprised of the multitude that had assembled, 
I concluded to tarry with my kind friend, Mrs. 
Fuller, to await the result. About five I learned 
he was safely carried to jail for safe-keeping. 


How my heart swelled with gratitude to the 
Preserver of our being, for having enabled him 
to pass through the hands of a mob without 
receiving the slightest injury. My dear husband 
was wonderfully sustained in a calm and quiet 
state;, during the whole scene of confusion that 
reigned around him; he was perfectly collected 
and felt willing to sacrifice his life rather than 
compromise principles. The two men you allude 
to in your letter were the ones who were most 
active in their exertions to save husband; why 
they were so no one knows, without they were 
bribed by someone to do it; however, let their 
motives be what they would, may blessings 
rest on them for this one act of kindness. 

" I was rejoiced our dear friend, Thompson, 
was in his quiet retreat; for had he been in 
Boston they would have devoured him like so 
many wolves, and Bostonians would have been 
obliged to blush for one of the most atrocious 
and villainous acts that could have been com- 
mitted in the sunlight of heaven. I hope he 
will use every precaution for his own safety 
that duty requires him to, for the sake of his 
family and friends. 

" I cannot feel too thankful that Mr. May 
was absent from the city at the time, as he would 
in all probability have been the next most 
conspicuous in the cause, and might have 
received some severe blows if no more. 


" I was glad the ladies, notwithstanding all 
they had endured for the truth, were permitted 
to proceed with their meeting without molesta- 
tion; had I known it was their intention to 
adjourn to a private house, I would certainly 
have been one of their number. 

" The many attentions I received from my 
friends are too numerous to mention; they 
flocked around me, unwearied in their exertions, 
and rendered me every needful assistance. How 
comforting and consoling the thought, that 
there were hearts who beat in unison with 
my own, and whose most fervent aspirations 
were ascending to the mercy-seat for a hasty 
and speedy deliverance from the dangers which 
looked so threatening. 

" We are now at my Father's house, well and 
happy, where I think we shall remain through 
the winter, as I find it is impossible for us to 
keep house without endangering others' prop- 
erty, and frequently having our own domestic 
happiness broken in upon by a lawless mob. 
Husband thinks he likes the retirement of 
the country, and that he will be able to accom- 
plish much more in the way of editorial than 
if he was in the city, where so many duties 
necessarily devolve upon him. ] 

" My dear husband was deeply affected on 
perusing your consoling letter, especially that 
part of it which relates to himself. He desires 


me to convey to you his warm and heartfelt 
emotions of gratitude, and the same to the 
Christian heroines of the Female Anti-Slavery 
Society, for all your sympathies, kindnesses, 
and prayers, so freely elicited in our behalf. 
What he has been called to suffer he considers 
not worthy to be mentioned except joyfully, 
for it is a high honor and not a reproach to be 
dragged through the streets by a lawless mob, 
for his testimony against the great abomination 
of this wicked land. I desire to bless God 
that his faith was superior to the trial which he 
was called to endure — that in the hour of 
peril he was undaunted and cheerful; and tho' 
I still tremble for his safety, yet, inexpressibly 
dear as he is to me, I had rather see him sacrifice 
his life in this blessed cause than swerve from 
a single right principle. He expects to visit 
Boston next week, and will avail himself of the 
opportunity to see you. He desires to be 
remembered, with all respect and esteem, to 
your sisters and to Mr. and Mrs. Chapman, 
for all of whom he entertains an exalted 

" Remember me very kindly to your sisters 
and the Miss Ammidons, to whom I am greatly 
indebted for the many favors I received the 
day I was taking my departure. 

" I am, very affectionately yours, 

" Helen E. Gakbison." 


Surely a very beautiful and noble letter! It 
reminds me tardily that I have not told at 
all of Garrison's love-making or of the charming 
girl who was glad to share his uncertain income 
and troublous career. They had first met in 
Providence, just before Garrison set sail for 
England, and their attraction had from the 
beginning been mutual, though no words of 
love were exchanged until January, 1834, when 
they began a correspondence which soon cul- 
minated in an engagement. That spring, on 
his way to Philadelphia, the youth for the 
first time visited the maiden as an accepted 
suitor and was immensely pleased to observe 
that she had not " dressed up " for him! " Not 
(Hie young lady out of ten thousand," he 
writes, — with remarkable acumen, consider- 
ing his life-study had been Slavery and not 
Woman — " but in a first interview with her 
lover would have endeavored falsely to heighten 
her charms and allure by outward attractions." 
Helen Benson, then as ever, though, was 
inclined, (as was her father before her), to 
Quaker garb and Quaker ideals. At the wedding 
which followed, September 4, 1834, there was 
neither cake nor wine, both bride and groom 
feeling the importance of their example to the 
colored population, whose tendency to show 
and parade they understood and deplored. 
After a journey to Boston by carriage, the 


young couple began housekeeping at " Free- 
dom's Cottage," on Bower Street, near Walnut 
Street, Roxbury, where they continued to live 
for some time. On the j&rst anniversary of his 
marriage. Garrison thus wrote of his wife to 
her brother George,^ who was also an ardent 
abolitionist, " I did not marry her expecting 
that she would assume a prominent station in 
the anti-slavery cause, but for domestic quietude 
and happiness. So completely absorbed am I 
in that cause that it was undoubtedly wise for 
me to select as a partner one who, while her 
benevolent feelings were in unison with mine, 
was less immediately and entirely connected 
with it. I knew that she was naturally diffident 
and distrustful of her own ability to do all that 
her heart might prompt. She is one of those 
who prefer to toil unseen, to give by stealth — 
and to sacrifice in seclusion. By her unwearied 
attention to my wants, her sympathetic regards, 
her perfect equanimity of mind, and her sweet 
and endearing manners, she is no trifling support 
to abolitionism, inasmuch as she lightens my 
labors and enables me to find exquisite delight in 
the family circle, as an offset to public adversity." 
One of the most striking things in connection 
with the anti-slavery struggle was the coterie 

' There are five large volumes of MS. letters by Garrison and 
twenty-one volumes of letters to him in the archives of the Boston 
Public Library, the gift to that institution of Garrison's children. 


of beautiful and gifted women who gave them- 
selves whole-heartedly to the cause. In Boston 
alone there were enough of these to make an 
imposing array, and when, to reinforce their 
ranks, there came from Philadelphia such 
women as Angelina and Sarah Grimke and 
from England such as Harriet Martineau and 
Fanny Kemble ^ the movement was sure to 
make headway apace. Many of the women 
workers in the anti-slavery cause grew to know 
intimately other women who had been slaves 
and so were moved by pesrsonal interest as well 
as by principle to strike down the accursed 
thing. Mrs. Cheney tells of her warm sympathy 
for Harriet Jacobs, who was born a slave in 
North Carolina and who suffered in her own 
person all the terrible evils to which beautiful 
young girls who were house servants were 
habitually exposed. Through incredible suffer- 
ing she escaped from slavery, being for almost 
seven years hidden away in a small loft where 
she could neither stand erect nor move with 
any freedom. In Linda, the Autobiography of 
a Slave Woman, a very rare book, she has 
herself told the history of her life. For many 
years this woman was in the service of N. P. 
Willis's family and subsequently she kept a 

'"I am sick and weary of this cruel and ignorant folly," wrote 
Fanny Kemble of slavery, which she had studied while living in 
1838-9 on a Georgia rice plantation. 


boarding-house at Cambridge for Harvard stu- 
dents. Harriet Tubman, whose story has been 
told by Sarah H. Bradford, and Ellen Craft, a 
light mulatto woman, who escaped disguised as 
a young Southern planter, bringing her husband 
with her in the character of her body servant, 
likewise moved by their personal narrations the 
hearts and consciences of all who heard them, 
especially those " devout women not a few " 
who were already alive to the terrible wickedness 
of slavery. 

Angelina Grimke, daughter of a Southern 
slave-owner, soon had an appalling example of 
that wickedness brought to her very door, — 
and she met the situation like the heroic creature 
that she was. Seeing in an anti-slavery paper 
(after the war) allusions to the academic honors 
being won at Lincoln University by two young 
colored men of her family name, she opened a 
correspondence with the youths, thinking they 
might be ex-slaves of one of her brothers. 
She found that they were the sons as well as 
former slaves of her favorite brother, who had 
recently died! Immediately she went south to 
see them at their school, acknowledged to 
their professors the relationship of the young 
men and their claim upon her, invited them to 
visit her at her home in Hyde Park (she had 
by this time married Theodore Weld, an 
abolitionist like herself) and there introduced 


them to her friends, quite naturally, as her 
nephews. They were good-looking, intelligent, 
gentlemanly young men, and in their life since 
(one is now a Presbyterian minister in Washing- 
ton, the other a successful lawyer in Boston) 
they have nobly realized that " devotion to 
the eternal principles of justice and humanity 
and religion " which she solemnly enjoined on 
them as their duty. 

No one felt the horror of the whole slave 
situation more than Harriet Martineau. She 
was the heroine of the adjourned meeting of 
the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society which 
came on November 19 at the home of Francis 
Jackson, and the modest little speech in which 
she then declared her entire sympathy with the 
cause of the Abolitionists brought down upon 
her head a tide of denunciation only less violent 
than that to which George Thompson himself 
had been subjected. Social ostracism was 
henceforth her lot in Boston, and from her 
experience at the hands of the city's elite sprang 
her book The Martyr Age of America, which 
did much to bind the hearts of the Abolitionists 
in England to the friends of the cause on this 
side of the water. 

Another woman who by her pen and voice 
rendered very valuable service to the cause at 
this crisis and later was Mrs. Maria Weston 
Chapman, wife of Henry G. Chapman, a 


Boston merchant. Mrs. Chapman was a lady 
of Mayflower lineage, of European culture, of 
very unusual beauty and of great social charm. 
When she espoused the unpopular cause of the 
negro and set herself to work early and late at 
whatever task would help Garrison, Boston 
society was frankly disgusted. Lowell has 
described Mrs. Chapman as 

" A noble woman, brave and apt, 
Cumsean sibyl not more rapt. 
Who might, with those fair tresses shorn, 
The Maid of Orleans' casque have worn; 
Herself the Joan of our Arc 
For every shaft a shining mark." 

The picture of her that I like best is, however, 
that given by Miss Martineau in the following 

" When I was putting on my shawl upstairs, 
Mrs. Chapman came to me, bonnet in hand, to 
say, ' You know we are threatened with a mob 
again to-day; but I do not myself much appre- 
hend it. It must not surprise us; but my hopes 
are stronger than my fears.' I hear now, as I 
write, the clear silvery tones of her who was 
to be the friend of the rest of my life. I still 
see the exquisite beauty whjch took me by 
surprise that day, — the slender, graceful form; 
the golden hair which might have covered her 
to her feet; the brilliant complexion, noble 
profile, and deep blue eyes; the aspect, meant 


by nature to be soft and winning only, but that 
day (as ever since) so vivified by courage, and 
so strengthened by upright conviction, as to 
appear the very embodiment of heroism, ' My 
hopes,' said she, as she threw up her golden 
hair under her bonnet, ' are stronger than my 
fears.' " 

Mrs. Chapman's husband was the cousin of 
Ann Terry Greene, the lady who was soon to 
become Mrs. Wendell Phillips. And this frail 
girl it was who won to the side of the Aboli- 
tionists its most valuable exponent. It was 
at the Chapmans' fireside, too, whither Phillips 
had gone to call on Miss Greene — that the 
most gifted spokesman of the slave met for 
the first time him who had long been his chief 
champion — another illustration of the old 
truth that it is love which makes the world go 

For many years Mrs. Chapman was the 
prime mover in the annual anti-slavery fairs 
by means of which funds to carry on the work 
of the Society were raised. Through her wide 
circle of acquaintance she was able to secure 
for the tables many contributions from Europe 
— odd and beautiful things which could then 
be purchased at no Boston shop, and which, 
therefore, found a very ready sale. Garrison 
sent his wife, under date of December 30, 1835, 
the following description of one of these func- 










Page 145. 


tions: " To-day has been the day for the 
Ladies' Fair — but not so bright and fair out 
of doors as within doors. The Fair was held 
at the house of Mr. Chapman's father in 
Chauncey Place, in two large rooms. Perhaps 
there were not quite so many things prepared 
as last year but the assortment was nevertheless 
various. There were several tables, as usual, 
which were under the superintendence of the 
Misses Weston, The Misses Ammidon, Miss 
Paul, Miss Chapman, Mrs. Sargent (who by 
the way spoke in the kindest manner of you), 
and one or two other persons whom I did not 
know. I bought a few things, and had one or 
two presents for Mrs. Garrison. . . . Our friend 
Sewall's ' intended,' Miss Winslow, is now in 
the city and was at the Fair today with two 
sparkling eyes and a pleasant countenance. 
How soon the marriage knot is to be tied, I 
cannot find out. Don't you think they are 
unwise not to hasten matters.'' . . . This eve- 
ning I took tea at Mr. Loring's. . . . His amiable 
wife was at the Fair selling and buying and 
giving away with her characteristic assiduity 
and liberality. Both of them were very kind 
in their inquiries after my wife. This forenoon 
bro. May and myself, by express invitation, 
visited Miss Martineau at Mr. Gannett's house. 
The interview was very agreeable and satis- 
factory to me. She is a fine woman." Miss 


Martineau, on the other hand, pronounced 
Garrison " the most bewitching person " she 
had met in the United States! 

To Miss Martineau's trenchant pen we are 
indebted for a picturesque description (in the 
Martyr Age of America) of an important 
State House hearing that occurred about this 
time (on March 4, 1836) on the question 
whether citizens of non-slaveholding States 
might or might not write and speak against 
slavery. " While the committee " she writes, 
" were, with ostentatious negligence, keeping 
the Abolitionists waiting, they, to whom this 
business was a prelude to life or death, were 
earnestly consulting in groups. At the further 
end of the chamber Garrison and another; 
somewhat nearer, Dr. FoUen looking German 
all over, and a deeper earnestness than usual 
overspreading his serene and meditative coun- 
tenance. In consultation with him was Ellis 
Gray Loring, only too frail in form, but with 
a face radiant with inward light. There were 
May and Goodell and Sewall and several more, 
and many an anxious wife, sister or friend 
looking down from the gallery. 

" During the suspense the door opened and 
Dr. Channing entered, — one of the last people 
who could, on that wintry afternoon, have 
been expected. He stood a few moments, 
muffled in his cloak and shawl-handkerchief, 


and then walked the whole length of the room 
and was immediately seen shaking hands with 
Garrison. A murmur ran through the gallery 
and a smile went round the chamber. Mrs. 
Chapman whispered to her next neighbor, 
' Righteousness and peace have kissed each 
other! ' Garrison, the dauntless Garrison, 
turned pale as ashes and sank down on a seat. 
Dr. Channing had censured the Abolitionists 
in his pamphlet on Slavery; Garrison had, in 
the Liberator, rejected the censure; and here 
they were shaking hands in the Senate chamber. 
Dr. Channing sat behind the speakers, handing 
them notes, and most obviously affording them 
his countenance, so as to be from that day 
considered by the world as an accession to 
their principles, though not to their organized 

From this time on, events in anti-slavery 
circles moved swiftly. In February, 1837, a 
woman for the first time spoke on the subject 
at a State House hearing, the lady thus dis- 
tinguished being the gifted Angelina Grimke, 
who laid down the important and far-reaching 
axiom that " Whatever is morally right for a 
man to do is morally right for a woman to 
do." She added that she recognized no rights 
but human rights and that, in her opinion, 
the time had gone by for woman to be " a second 
hand agent in regenerating the worldly" Inas- 


much as many of the most valued workers for 
the anti-slavery cause had long been women it 
was considered by the Abolitionists very fitting 
that this woman, who knew slavery from 
intimate childhood association, and whose pow- 
ers as a- speaker were soon famed throughout 
the country, should appear at a Boston hearing. 
But the other side did not enjoy the innovation. 
Lydia Maria Child has thus described the 

" The house was full to overflowing. For a 
moment her sense of the responsibility resting 
on her seemed almost to overwhelm her. She 
trembled and grew pale. But this passed 
quickly and she went on to speak gloriously, 
showing, in utter forgetfulness of herself, her 
own earnest faith in every word she uttered, 
' Whatever comes from the heart goes to the 
heart.' I believe she made a very powerful 
impression on the a,udience. Boston, like other 
cities is very far behind the country towns on 
this subject; so much so that it is getting to 
be Boston vs. Massachusetts, as the lawyers 
say. The Boston members of the legislature 
tried hard to prevent her having a hearing on 
the second day. Among other things, they said 
such a crowd was attracted by curiosity, that 
the galleries were in danger of breaking down, 
though in fact they are constructed with 
remarkable strength. A member from Salem, 


perceiving their drift, wittily proposed ' that 
a committee be appointed to examine the 
foundations of the State House of Massa- 
chusetts to see whether it will bear another 
lecture from Miss Grimke.' " 

One interesting result of the increasing ac- 
tivity of women in Massachusetts was the 
famous Pastoral Letter of the " General Associa- 
tion of Massachusetts to the Churches Under 
Its Care," an appeal which, after deploring 
the slavery agitation generally, invited atten- 
tion particularly " to the dangers which at 
present (1837) seem to threaten the female 
character with widespread and permanent in- 
jury." The author of this " bull," issued while 
the Massachusetts Orthodox churches were in 
session at Brookfield, was Rev. Dr. Nehemiah 
Adams, of Boston, who earned for himself, 
by his truckling to the slave power, the sobriquet 
of " Southside Adams." This gentleman shows 
himself in his " Letter " immensely solicitous 
for the beautiful bloom of womanhood. " If 
the vine whose strength and beauty is to lean 
upon the trellis-work and half conceal its 
clusters thinks to assume the independence and 
the overshadowing nature of the elm, it will 
not only cease to bear fruit," he declares, 
" but will fall in shame and dishonor to the 
dust. We cannot, therefore, but regret the 
mistaken conduct of those who encourage 


females to bear an obtrusive and ostentatious 
part in measures of reform and countenance 
any of that sex who so far forget themselves 
as to itinerate in the character of public lecturers 
and teachers." Maria Weston Chapman wittily 
replied to this pompous fulmination in a jingle 
which she called, " The Times that Try Men's 
Souls," and signed " The Lords of Creation." 
While from J. G. Whittier came the stirring 
verses beginning: 

" So, this is all, — the utmost reach. 
Of priestly power the mind to fetter! 
When laymen think — when women preach — 
A war of words — a Pastoral Letter. 

" A Pastoral Letter, grave and dull — 
Alas ! in hoof and horns and features. 
How different is your Brookfield bull. 
From him who bellows from St. Peter's! 

" But ye, who scorn the thrilling tale 

Of Carolina's high-souled daughters. 
Which echoes here the mournful wail 

Of sorrow from Edisto's waters. 
Close while ye may the public ear, — 

With malice vex, with slander wound them, — 
The pure and good shall throng to hear. 

And tried and manly hearts surround them." 

These last lines were prophetic. For the 
measures taken to suppress the women and to 
stifle the voice of the Abolitionists only served 


to enlarge their meetings and to win to their 
side converts of greater power than any they 
had yet known. 

Chief of these was Wendell Phillips, who 
from 1837 on was the spokesman 'par excellence 
of the an ti -slavery forces. Mr. Phillips' con- 
version to the cause came, as has been -already 
said, through Miss Ann Terry Greene, whom he 
married on October 12, 1837. Ere their honey- 
moon was over, both were inexpressibly shocked 
by the news that Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy, a 
Presbyterian clergyman of New England birth, 
who in the church organ of which he was 
editor had condemned the barbarous burning 
of a negro by a band of lynchers, had been 
himself shot down by a mob while in the act 
of defending his press from the violence of 
marauders. The South openly exulted over 
this appalling act. The North condemned the 
mob but lamented the " imprudence " of the 
victim. A petition signed by Dr. Channing 
and others, asking that Faneuil Hall might be 
assigned them for a meeting in which to protest 
against this violation of the principles of liberty, 
was rejected by the Boston authorities. Where- 
upon Dr. Channing issued an appeal to the 
citizens of Boston, calling upon them to reverse 
this action of the municipal government. Simul- 
taneously, a meeting at the Supreme Court 
room, presided over by George W. Bond, 


prepared resolutions demanding that the mayor 
and aldermen change their course and give the 
use of the hall. They did so and the meeting 
was held, Jonathan Phillips, a wealthy kinsman 
of Wendell Phillips, presiding. 

It was a morning meeting, for greater safety's 
sake, and the old hall was full to suffocation. 
Dr. Channing made an impressive address, in 
which he showed how the right of free speech 
had been violated by the murder of Love joy. 
Benjamin F. Hallett and George S. Hilliard 
followed in much the same vein. The next 
speaker was James Tricothic Austin, a parish- 
ioner of Dr. Channing's but one who did that 
saintly man little credit in the views he was 
now to set forth. For, declaring that Lovejoy 
died " as the fool dieth " and that the men who 
had killed him were as great patriots as those 
who threw the tea into Boston harbor, he had 
soon drawn to applauding approval the vast 
number of those unthinking and inimical folk 
who had come to the meeting because they 
hoped to prevent the passage of the Resolutions 
and so clog the progress of the Abolition cause 
whose power they were beginning to fear. 

Wendell Phillips had, until this moment, been 
standing on the floor with the other listeners, 
but he now leaped upon the platform and pro- 
ceeded sternly to rebuke the speech of the 
demagogue, Austin. " When I heard," said he, 


" the gentleman lay down principles which 
placed the murderers of Alton side by side with 
Otis and Hancock, with Quincy and Adams, I 
thought those pictured lips," pointing to their 
portraits, " would have broken into voice to 
rebuke the recreant American, the slanderer 
of the dead." And then followed a marvellous 
speech of which Oliver Johnson, who heard it, 
has said, " Never before did the walls of the 
old ' Cradle of Liberty ' echo to a finer strain 
of eloquence. It was a speech to which not even 
the completest report could do justice . . . and 
the reporter [present] caught only a pale reflec- 
tion of what fell from the orator's lips." 

Yet it is a good speech to read even in its 
imperfect form. Mr. Austin had said that 
Lovejoy had acted with imprudence, and Phil- 
lips caught this up. " Imprudent to defend 
the liberty of the press! Why.'' Because the 
defence was unsuccessful.'' Does success gild 
crime into patriotism and want of it change 
heroic self-devotion to imprudence? Was 
Hampden imprudent when he drew the sword 
and threw away the scabbard.'' Yet he, judged 
by that single hour, was unsuccessful. After 
a short exile the race he hated sat again upon 
the throne. Imagine yourself present when 
the first news of Bunker Hill battle reached a 
New England town. The tale would have 
run thus: 'The patriots are routed; the red- 


coats victorious; Warren lies dead upon the 
field.' With what scorn would that Tory have 
been received, who should have charged Warren 
with imprudence! who should have said that, 
bred as a physician, he was ' out of place ' in 
the battle and ' died as the fool dieth ! ' How 
would the intimation have been received that 
Warren and his associates should have waited 
a better time? But, if success be indeed the 
only criterion of prudence, Respice finem — 
wait till the end. 

" Presumptuous to assert the freedom of the 
press on American ground! Is the assertion 
of such freedom before the age.'' So much 
before the age as to leave one no right to make 
it because it displeases the community? Who 
invents this libel on his country? It is this 
very thing which entitles Love joy to greater 
praise; the disputed right which provoked 
the Revolution — taxation without representa- 
tion — is far beneath that for which he died. 
(Here there was a strong and general expression 
of disapprobation.) One word, gentlemen. 
As much as thought is better than money, so 
much is the cause in which Love joy died 
nobler than a mere question of taxes. James 
Otis thundered in this hall when the king did 
but touch his pocket. Imagine, if you can, his 
indignant eloquence had England offered to 
put a gag upon his lips. (Great applause.)" 


And then Mr. Phillips, who was only twenty- 
six and comparatively unknown, closed with 
these words, " I am glad, sir, to see this crowded 
house. It is good for us to be here. When 
liberty is in danger, Faneuil Hall has the right, 
it is her duty, to strike the key-note for these 
United States. I am glad, for one reason, that 
remarks such as those to which I have alluded 
have been uttered here. The passage of these 
resolutions, in spite of this opposition, led 
by the Attorney General of the Commonwealth, 
will show more clearly, more decisively, the 
deep indignation with which Boston regards 
this outrage." 

After this memorable beginning, Faneuil Hall 
became, each year, more and more identified 
with the cause of the Abolitionists. On its 
platform. Garrison, Sumner, Theodore Parker, 
Edmund Quincy, Douglass, Higginson, Howe 
and John A. Andrew — to name only a few 
on the honorable roll — reasserted whenever 
their testimony would help the principles of 
anti-slavery reform and defended as the need 
of the moment demanded the cause of freedom 
for all men. 

Another Boston structure, still standing, 
which has deeply stirring associations for those 
who care about this struggle of the slave for 
freedom, is the Old Court House. Through the 
east door of this building was effected in Feb- 


ruary, 1851, the rescue of Shadrach, a colored 
waiter at the Cornhill Coffee House, who had 
been arrested as a fugitive from slavery under 
the law which Daniel Webster condemned him- 
self by supporting. In 1851, pending the trial 
of Thomas M. Sims, the Court House was 
girdled with heavy chains to prevent another 
rescue, and, in order to reach their tribunals 
of justice, the judges of the Supreme Court of 
Massachusetts were obliged to stoop under 
this symbol of the slave-holders' supremacy 
even in a non slave-holding State. Many 
a son of Boston, however, was now fired with 
mighty indignation that such things should be, 
and, on the next occasion when the Fugitive 
Slave Law was to be enforced in their city, 
determined speeches against it were made in 
Faneuil Hall and a careful plan for rescuing 
Anthony Burns, the victim, was formed. Un- 
happily the plan did not succeed. Though a 
band of Abolitionists, prominent among whom 
were Thomas Wentworth Higginson and Lewis 
Hayden, burst open the middle door on the 
west side of the Court House by means of a 
heavy beam of wood, the firing of a shot from 
some unknown quarter precipitated a panic, 
and the rescuers' organization was demoralized, 
with the result that poor Burns was left to his 
keepers and his fate. An eye witness ^ who was 

1 " Cliftondale " in the Boston Transcript. 


on Ms way to school describes thus the rendition 
which followed: 

"In passing through Court Square I was 
surprised at seeing a crowd of men and boys 
in that generally rather quiet thoroughfare. 
The Cadets, Colonel Amory, were in line on 
the City Hall side, and the open, upper windows 
of the Court House were filled with United 
States marines or soldiers. . . . From the head 
of State Street I saw State troops in the inter- 
secting streets, guarding that thoroughfare. 
On passing down Water Street I found the City 
Guard. ! 


" I returned to the square in time to witness 
a procession from Worcester in which a stalwart 
colored man carried a banner lettered with an 
anti-slavery motto. As it neared me a man 
named Allen, a stationer on State Street whose 
brother was a lieutenant in the Boston City 
Guard, rushed to the darkey, drew the pole 
down until he had hold of the cross-bar and the 
two then struggled for the possession of the 
banner. Others on both sides took part, and 
after a small riot that and other banners were 
torn to shreds and the pieces scattered among the 
crowd as souvenirs of the occasion, and the 
members of the procession merged with the 
crowd like a ' dissolving view.' 

" Another procession soon emerged from the 
Court House door, with Burns as the central 


figure, preceded by police and United States 
marshals, and surrounded by United States 
troops. I was in the immediate rear and against 
the rope drawn across State Street when the 
procession had entered it and I watched till it 
reached the wharf, as it had been threatened 
that bottles of vitriol would be thrown from 
upper windows upon it; but I did not witness 
any such proceeding. If ever ' State Rights ' 
were violated, though, they were on that oc- 

Miss Martha Russell, a newspaper corre- 
spondent of the period, whose heart was in the 
right place and who was endowed with a 
sprightly style, wrote thus categorically of what 
happened just before Burns was led away: 

"Boston, May 26, 1854. 
"(Dear Friends: — 'I have a great many things 
to say to you and scarcely know where to 
begin. I am in a great ' whew,' as Aunt 
Lydia used to say. There is a fugitive slave 
now confined in Boston Court House, and 
has been there ever since Wednesday night. 
His master came on, brought a man with 
him and ' nabbed ' him at once. He was 
going oflf with him but Mr. Dana interfered, 
and tomorrow he will have his trial. The 
whole city is in excitement; to-night there is 
a great meeting in Faneuil Hall of all parties. 


a regular indignation meeting, and I am going. 
They have not put chains about the Court 
House yet, as they did when they took Sims, 
but many people think there will be bloodshed 
before they get through. I shall go up to the 
Commonwealth office tomorrow, and as those 
windows command a view of State Street and 
Court Street, I shall see all the proceedings 
that can be seen outside the Court House. If 
Boston people allow another fugitive slave to 
be taken from here, and just now when that 
rascally Nebraska bill has passed, they de- 
serve to be hung as high as were the Salem 

" I have been noticing books this forenoon. 
Mr. Giddings, Mr. Hale and, I think, Mr. 
Whittier, will be in town this week. I hope 
to see them. The anniversaries of the different 
moral and benevolent societies are held here 
next week. I wish you could hear some of 
the speeches. I go to hear Theodore Parker 

" Men say that he is not orthodox and all 
that; he says some things I do not believe, 
yet he never gives his hearers a stone when 
they ask for bread. He is a noble, fearless, 
but somewhat impulsive man. I care less for 
his theological notions and dogmas than I do 
for the great human heart within him. 


" Sunday morning. I hoped by this time 
to tell you that the fugitive slave was free, but 
he is now in the Court House, guarded by three 
companies of troops — the marines from the 
navy yard, the regular United States troops 
from Governor's Island and a company of 
volunteers. The city is one great ferment. 
On Friday evening I went to Faneuil Hall. As 
I expected, the hall was a dense jam; there are 
no seats on the lower floors and the whole 
surface was packed with men standing. The 
galleries, the window-sills, the ante-rooms, were 
crowded with men and women, and outside was 
a great crowd that could not get in at all, so 
they made speeches out there. The meeting 
was organized by appointing George Russell of 
Roxbury chairman. There were several 
speakers, among them Wendell Phillips and 
Theodore Parker. Dr. Howe read the resolu- 
tions. I liked Mr. Phillips best of all. There 
seemed but one voice among speakers and 
people and that was that the slave, Anthony 
Burns, should not go back to Virginia. Such 
shouts and groans and hisses and cries of, ' To 
the Court House! ' ' Let us free him tonight! ' 
It was all Wendell Phillips could do, with his 
wondrous eloquence, to pacify them and show 
them the madness of an attempt to rescue him 
until after he had had his mockery of a trial. 
Before he had done speaking a man crowded 


himself into the doorway crying that there was 
a crowd collected around the Court House in 
Court Square, and they were about to attack 
the Court House. There was one general rush 
for the door. When we got out, which was 
not until among the last, the crowd were 
hurrying up to the Court House. We came 
up to the Commonwealth office. There was 
a crowd up there but we gave them a wide 
berth and came home, meeting on the way a 
company of military. Another passed the 
house soon after we reached it. The crowd at- 
tacked the Court House, broke one door, broke 
windows, etc., and were met by persons who 
were guarding the prisoner, the tools of the 
United States marshal, who was there himself, all 
armed with revolvers and swords. There were 
some pistols fired and one man killed. The 
man killed was said to have been inside the 
house and one of the men hired to guard the 
prisoner. The alarm bells were rung [and] as 
soon as possible, the mayor was there with 
the police. The mayor then ordered out two 
or three companies of military troops, while the 
United States marshal sent for more marines 
and for more regulars. None of the city troops 
volunteered to help the marshal, but a company 
of foreigners. The services of these were 
accepted and they were quartered in the Court 
House, to the great exasperation of the citizens. 


The city troops guard the building and try to 
keep the peace. 

" Yesterday morning at the hour appointed 
for the trial the crowd about the Court House 
was very great; but every avenue was guarded 
and at the upper windows soldiers were looking 
down. Commissioner Loring would let no 
one in on the prisoner's behalf if he could help 
it and so much did Mr. Dana ^ who had taken 
up the prisoner's defence, make of this point, 
that they finally granted a postponement until 
Monday in order that he might prepare for 
the defence. So all day yesterday the Court 
House was guarded, and it is said that the 
marshal has sent to Newport for more troops. 
I did not go up street in the morning as I had 
planned, for I did not think it would be wise, 
but when my friends came home they said 
I might have gone. I went just at sunset 
up to the Common and then down past the 
Court House. The troops were drawn up 
before the door that was battered down the 
night before [and there was a crowd that 
was constantly increasing. There was a 
rumor that Wendell Phillips' house was to 
be attacked and J. went with some others 
to buy Colt's revolvers. These gentlemen were 
going to stay in Mr. Phillips' house to 
guard it. 

* Kichard H. Dana, Jr. 


" C. has been up to the square this morning. 
There were not many people about and all 
was quiet. He heard that the merchants of 
Boston had offered the master his price for 
the slave, $1,200, for which he offered to sell 
him Friday, and that now he refuses to take 
that and wants them to pay all his expenses 
besides. If I had my way I would take that 
slaveholder down to the old Liberty Tree on 
the corner where they used to take Tories, 
with a halter round his neck and ride him on 
a rail out of town. That would be all the coin 
he would get from me for his slave. I am 
ashamed of their trying to buy him. The 
Whigs and Democrats are as much excited 
about the matter as the anti-slavery people, 
indeed, it is said they complain of the luke- 
warmness of the Free Soilers. They want the 
Free Soilers to go ahead while they stand behind 
the corner and cry ' Go ahead ! ' The Free 
Soilers have done it in the times gone by and 
they are ready to do it now, though they 
would like someone to cooperate. Mr. B. 
very much deplores the outbreak Friday night; 
he thought the tone of some of the speeches 
made at Faneuil Hall Friday night very in- 
judicious, and indeed the outbreak has done 
much to lessen the chance of the poor fellow's 
rescue. Tomorrow we shall see what will be 
done. I am to go to the ofl5ce in the morning 


to see the crowd and will write you all about 
it. Very truly yours, 

"Martha Russell."' 

The trifling advantages gained by slavery 
from such renditions as that of Burns were 
vastly outweighed by the indignation against 
the slave-power and all its abettors which 
was fed by these transactions. In all ages and 
nations it has been held odious to return fugi- 
tives into the hands of their oppressors, and no 
matter how eloquently a Daniel Webster might 
argue in a Seventh of March speech that it 
was the constitutional duty of Massachusetts 
strictly to enforce the extradition law, the 
awakened conscience of Boston cried out against 
such acts. To urge the enforcement of the 
Fugitive Slave Law was now the surest way 
to engender violent resistance to it. Moreover, 
there was very good ground for belief that 
the law was unconstitutional in its provisions. 
The United States Constitution had provided 
that " no person shall be deprived of his liberty 
without due process of law " and that " in all 
suits at common law where the value in con- 
troversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right 
of trial by jury shall be preserved." Yet Sims 
and Burns were deprived of their liberty without 

1 In a letter to friends in North Brandford, Connecticut, quoted 
in the Notes and Queries department of the Boston Transcript. 


seeing either judge or jury! This disregard of 
the rights of the slave when in a free State it 
was which started in many minds the new 
and disturbing thought that, sooner or later, 
force would have to be met by force. How that 
thought constantly grew in power is the story 
of the next ten years in Boston. 



ALTHOUGH " agitating " was not a tra- 
dition in the Phillips family, loving and 
serving Boston was. Very early the lad 
who was to do so much for the cause of the 
slave began to show enthusiasm for the glorious 
name and goodly fame of the city which had 
chosen his father for its first mayor. Born 
(Nov. 29, 1811) in the stately house of colonial 
design which still stands at the corner of 
Beacon and Walnut Streets, Wendell Phillips 
grew up with the historic Common for a play- 
ground, and with J. Lothrop Motley and Thomas 
Gold Appleton, lads destined, like himself, to 
hold an honored place upon the rolls of Boston's 
famous men, for play -fellows. " Wendell Phil- 
lips, Motley and I," Appleton has recorded, 
" used to frolic in the gallery of the Motley 
House [at the corner of Walnut and Chestnut 
Streets] and I recall that their favorite pastime 
used to be to strut about in any fancy costume 
they could find in the corners of the old attic 
and shout scraps of poetry and snatches of 


dialogue at each other. It was a fine sight to 
watch them, for both were noble-looking fellows; 
and even then Wendell's voice was a very- 
pleasant one to listen to, and his gestures as 
graceful as could be." 

When young Phillips was eleven he began to 
attend the Boston Public Latin School which 
(till 1844) stood on School Street upon a portion 
of the ground now occupied by the Parker House. 
An impressionable lad always, he was wont to 
think much as he went back and forth to 
school of the famous dead who had made 
Boston what it was. " Boston boys had reason 
to be thankful for their birthright," he declared 
in referring to these memories. " The noble 
deeds and sacred places of the old town are 
the poetry of history and the keenest ripeners 
of character." Such, at any rate, they proved 
to be in his case. And the mere contemplation 
of Faneuil Hall and the Old South Church 
strengthened in him his early determination to 
be a great orator even as James Otis and Dr. 
Warren had been. " What led me first to 
observe him," a fellow-student has said, " was 
his elocution; and I soon came to look forward 
to declamation day with interest, mainly on 
his account. The pieces chosen were chiefly 
such as would excite patriotic feelings and an 
enthusiasm for freedom." Wendell Phillips, 
however, did not need to have such " pieces " 


chosen for him. Already he had studied and 
committed most of the famous speeches of 
history, and he lost no opportunity to go where 
he could hear such speeches pronounced by the 
great men of his own time and town. Like 
the younger Pitt he made the study of oratory 
the diversion of his boyhood. Hearing Harrison 
Gray Otis or EdWard Everett talk of poKcies 
and politics in Boston was to him as fascinating 
an occupation as visiting the circus is to the 
country lad who has been performing acrobatic 
stunts with the old farm horse. 

When Wendell was fourteen a very great 
thing happened to Boston; Washington's friend, 
Lafayette, came to be the guest of the city. 
In a charming address made, years afterwards, 
to an audience of schoolchildren in Music Hall, 
Phillips thus recalled this stirring occasion, and 
no one of us who has ever been a hero-wor- 
shipper can listen coldly to his words: " I was 
a little boy in a class in the Latin School at the 
time and we were turned out on yonder Com- 
mon in a grand procession at nine o'clock in the 
morning. And for what? Not to hear fine 
music — no; but for something better than 
music, that thrilled more than eloquence — a 
sight which should live in the memory forever, 
the best sight which Boston ever saw — the 
welcome of Lafayette on his return to this 
country, after an absence of a score of years. 


I can boast, boys and girls, more than you. I 
can boast that these eyes have beheld the hero 
of three revolutions, this hand has touched 
the right hand that held up Hancock and 
Washington. Not all this glorious celebration 
can equal that glad reception of the nation's 
benefactor by all that Boston could offer him — 
a sight of her children. It was a long procession; 
and, unlike other processions, we started punc- 
tually at the hour published. They would not 
let us wander about and did not wish us to 
sit down. I there received my first lesson in 
hero-worship. I was so tired after four hours' 
waiting I could scarcely stand; but when I 
saw him — that glorious old Frenchman ! — I 
could have stood until today." 

At sixteen the boy entered Harvard and 
formed that friendship with Edmund Quincy, 
the president's son, which was to mean so 
much to both as well as to the Abolition cause. 
In college, however, Phillips was still what he 
had been made by the circumstances of his life, 
a proud leader of the aristocracy, a handsome, 
well-born, well bred lad who, though dis- 
tinguished above all his mates for purity of 
character and earnestness of purpose, seemed 
predestined to conservatism and to a prosperous 
career as the defender of the rights of those who 
possessed, — and who wished to retain. Such 
a youth, of blue Boston blood, went naturally, 


then as now, after being graduated from college 
into the Harvard Law School, and Phillips 
proved no exception to the rule. At college 
Charles Sumner had been one of Phillips' 
friends and in the Law School the two continued 
their intimacy counting themselves very for- 
tunate to be students together under Judge 
Story, the legal luminary of that day. When 
Phillips had completed his course the judge 
foretold for him an unprecedented career, little 
thinking in how extraordinary a sense the 
prophecy was to be a true one. 

A trip to Philadelphia followed Phillips' 
release from studies and, on his way home after 
its enjoyment, he made the acquaintance, in 
New York, of Aaron Burr. The slayer of 
Hamilton was exceedingly polite to the young 
law graduate, showing him the sights of the 
metropolis and otherwise making him feel at 
home. Thus it was that, when Burr came to 
Boston for a visit, soon after Phillips' return, 
the younger man called on him at the Tremont 
House and returned the courtesies. Among 
other places he took Burr to the Athenaeum, then 
on Pearl Street, to see the treasures of the place. 
" As they walked down the hall between the 
alcoves," records F. B. Sanborn (in his Recol- 
lections of Wendell Phillips) " Phillips caught 
sight of a bust of Hamilton, one of the orna- 
ments of the library, which he had forgotten was 


there. He tried on some pretext to draw Burr 
in another direction; but he, too, had seen the 
bust and marched straight up to it. He stood 
facing it for a moment, then turned and said : 
' A remarkable man — a very remarkable 
man.' " After which he wheeled about and 
walked composedly away. 

The old sign "Wendell Phillips: Office" 
which hung outside the Court Street building 
in which the young man began his law practice, 
still hangs against the bricks of a Boston wall. 
Now, however, its owner is the keeper of an 
" old curiosity shop " on Park Street, just 
opposite the State House, and the fact that 
he will not sell the sign for any sum whatever, — 
because of its value to him as an advertisement, 
— proves that Wendell Phillips' name is still 
one to conjure with in Boston. Seventy-five 
years ago, also, the sign " drew business." 
During his first two seasons of practice the 
young lawyer paid all his own expenses; and 
he was beginning to get cases with fame as well 
as fees attached to them when what some would 
call chance and others Providence arrested the 
current of his life and turned it in quite another 
direction. Sumner, as has been said, was 
Phillips' warm friend. He had an office near 
by at 4 Court Street and they were often to- 
gether. One day, as they sat chatting in Phil- 
lips' office, a mutual friend burst in, informed 


them of his engagement to a Miss Grew of 
Greenfield and added that, with his fiancee 
and a cousin of hers, a Miss Ann Terry Greene, 
he was to make a stage journey to Greenfield 
on the morrow. 

" But you know," he added, " that in my con- 
dition ' two's company,' etc., and I wish you 
to go, both of you, and take care of the other 
lady. She will require the two of you, for she is 
the cleverest, loveliest girl you ever met. But 
I warn you that she is a rabid Abolitionist. 
Look out or she will talk you both into that ism 
before you suspect what she is at." 

Goodnaturedly, the two young men promised 
to be on hand next morning and to entertain 
the fair Abolitionist while the fiances enjoyed 
each other. But when the next day dawned in 
a furious rainstorm, Sumner faithlessly kept 
his comfortable bed and Wendell Phillips had, 
all to himself, during the long journey, the 
attention and the conversation of Miss Ann 
Terry Greene. As it happened, his mind was 
hospitably inclined towards the Abolition argu- 
ments with which she plied him, for he had been 
a witness to the indignities heaped upon Gar- 
rison by the " broadcloth mob " and so was 
theoretically on the anti-slavery side. But 
the burning words of this gentle girl, who had 
herself been in the little company of women 
whose meeting the mob had interrupted, awoke 


an unwonted response in his soul and, finding 
that she lived in Boston, he asked and received 
permission to call on her. Carlos Martyn, to 
whose vivid Life of Wendell Phillips I am 
indebted for this anecdote of a romance at its 
dawn, says that Phillips confessed, after he had 
married the lady, " Yes, my wife made an out 
and out Abolitionist of me, and she always 
preceded me in the adoption of the various 
causes I have advocated." But Mrs. Phillips 
was never in the public gaze after their mar- 
riage, — long invalidism claimed her, poor lady! 
For the rest of her days she was able to serve 
only through her husband. 

Phillips' maiden speech for the anti-slavery 
cause was made, June 14, 1837, in Lynn. Four 
months later he and Miss Greene were married, 
and ere their honeymoon was over he came out 
at Faneuil Hall, as has been related in the 
preceding chapter, for Garrison, for freedom 
and for the slave. 

The cause of Woman, also, was one which 
Phillips early espoused. Allusion has already 
been made to the fine quality of the women 
in the anti-slavery movement and to their 
tenacity of purpose in pushing this reform. 
It is as if they had resolved to illustrate afresh 
the truth of Luther's saying, " I have often- 
times noted when women espouse a cause they 
are far more fervent in faith, they hold to it 


more stiflP and fast than men do; as we see in 
the lovely Magdalen who was more hearty and 
bold than Peter himself." But though the 
anti-slavery societies welcomed women they 
gave them no voice and no vote, when it came 
to be a question of electing oflBcers and shaping 
policies. Some of the women resented this, — 
just as they are resenting today the necessity 
of obeying laws they have had no chance of 
making. Phillips among the first saw the justice 
of the women's claim. In a letter written in 
1838 (to Arthur Tappan) he states unmis- 
takably his view of this matter, " Since woman 
is interested equally with man in righting the 
wrongs of slavery; since among the blacks she 
suffers vitally as wife and mother, as daughter 
and sister, just as he does as husband and 
father, as son and brother; why is she not 
entitled to utter her indignation anywhere, 
everywhere, and most of all in anti-slavery 
committee-rooms and upon anti-slavery plat- 
forms.'' " 

A capital opportunity to take a notable stand 
on this important matter now came Phillips' 
way. He was accredited the representative 
abroad of the anti-slavery movement and 
after a year spent in travelling up and down 
Europe in the hope of benefiting Mrs. Phillips' 
health the two found themselves (June, 1840) in 
London for the meeting of the World's Anti- 


Slavery Convention. The call to this convention 
had been addressed to " friends of the slave of 
every nation and of every clime." Accordingly, 
when the various American societies appointed 
delegates they sent women as well as men, 
following their recent resolution on this matter. 
Garrison and Phillips were among the men 
appointed, Mrs. Phillips and Mrs. Chapman 
among the women. But when Wendell Phillips 
proceeded to present the credentials of the 
delegates he found that women were not ex- 
pected to sit with the body. This was his 
opportunity and he decided to appeal the 
matter to the convention itself. On the morning 
the convention was to open his wife instructed 
him as he left their boarding-place: 

" Wendell, don't shilly-shally." 

He obeyed her. In a speech which has 
become historic as the first ever made by a 
man in advocacy of the rights of women he 
declared that, with the delegates from Massa- 
chusetts, this was a matter of conscience. 
" We think it right for women to sit by our side 
in America," he asserted, " and we think it 
right for them to do the same here. We could 
not go back to America to ask for any aid from 
the women of Massachusetts if we had deserted 
them when they chose to send out their own 
sisters as their representatives here." None the 
less, it was decreed that women should be wel- 


corned to the galleries only, and then merely 
as spectators, not as participants in the pro- 
ceedings of the Convention. Garrison had been 
detained at sea by storms and did not reach 
London until the Convention was nearing its 
end, but as soon as he learned that the cre- 
dentials of the women delegates had been dis- 
honored he declared that, he, too, would sit 
in the gallery. Afterwards he said, " If there 
is any one act of my life of which I am par- 
ticularly proud it is in refusing to join such a 
body [the London Conference] on terms which 
were manifestly reproachful to my constituents 
and unjust to the cause of liberty." Necessarily, 
however, that gallery where the head of the 
American Abolitionists sat surrounded by the 
excluded women-delegates became one of the 
most interesting places in the hall ! 

To the stand which Phillips and Garrison 
had taken upon this mooted matter Daniel 
O'Connell the great Irish liberator rallied also, 
it is interesting to note, though at first his feeling 
had been against accrediting the women. His 
support naturally strengthened the great admira- 
tion which Phillips had for him, an admiration 
which was to do much, in America, for the 
young orator, as well as for the famous Irishman. 

The summer of 1841 found the Phillipses 
back in Boston making preparations to begin 
housekeeping. Mrs. Phillips had inherited from 


her father a modest brick house at 26 Essex 
Street and here they took up their abode. 
The Garrisons, the Chapmans and the Lorings 
were all within five minutes' walk, and later 
Theodore Parker, also, was to be a near neigh- 
bor. Phillips greatly enjoyed his home. To 
Miss Elizabeth Pease, a friend whom he and 
Mrs, Phillips had made in England, he wrote: 

" November 25, 1841. 
" I am writing in our own parlor — wish you 
were in it — on Thanksgiving Day. Did you 
ever hear of that name.'' 'Tis an old custom in 
New England, begun to thank God for a 
providential arrival of food from the mother- 
country in sixteen hundred and odd year, and 
perpetuated now, wherever a New Englander 
dwells, some time in autumn, by the Governor's 
appointment. All is hushed of business about 
me; the devout pass the morning at church; 
those who have wandered to other cities hurry 
back to worship to-day where their fathers 
knelt, and gather sons and grandsons, to the 
littlest prattler, under the old roof -tree to — 
shall I break the picture? — cram as much 
turkey and plum-pudding as possible; a sort 
of compromise by Puritan love of good eating 
for denying itself that ' wicked papistrie ' 
Christmas." ^ 

1 Memorial of Ann Phillips. 


A pleasant little glimpse of the young couple's 
life together at " No. 26 " as they often called 
it to their friends is afforded by this letter of 
Mrs. Phillips to Miss Pease: " There is your 
Wendell seated in the arm-chair, lazy and 
easy as ever, perhaps a little fatter than when 
you saw him, still protesting how he was ruined 
by marrying. Your humble servant looks like 
the Genius of Famine, as she always did, one 
of Pharaoh's lean kine. She laughs consider- 
ably, continues in health in the same naughty 
way, has been pretty well for her this winter. 
Now what do you think her life is.'' Why, she 
strolls out a few steps occasionally, calling it 
a walk; the rest of the time from bed to sofa, 
from sofa to rocking-chair; reads, generally, the 
Standard and Liberator, and that is pretty much 
all the literature her aching head will allow 
her to peruse; rarely writes a letter, sees no 
company, makes no calls, looks forward to 
spring and birds, when she will be a little 
freer; is cross very often, pleasant at other 
times, loves her dear L — and thinks a great 
deal of her; and now you have Ann Phillips. 

" Now I'll take up another strain. This 
winter has been marked to us by our keeping 
house the first time. I call it housekeeping; 
but, alas! we have not the pleasure of enter- 
taining angels, awares or unawares. We have 
a small house, but large enough for us, only a 

Mr. Phillips is shown just eiitcriny the door. 

■ From a photograph in the possession of Francis Jackson Ourrison. 


few rooms furnished — just enough to try to 
make me more comfortable than at board. 
But then I am not well enough even to have 
friends to tea, so that all that I strive to do is 
to keep the house neat and to keep myself 
about. I have attended no meetings since I 
helped to fill ' the negro pew.' What anti- 
slavery news I get, I get second-hand. I 
should not get along at all, so great is my 
darkness, were it not for Wendell to tell me 
that the world is still going on. . . . We are 
very happy, and only have to regret my health 
being so poor and our own sinfulness. Dear 
Wendell speaks whenever he can leave me, and 
for his sake I sometimes wish I were myself 
again; but I dare say it is all right as it is." ^ 
The Standard, to which allusion has here been 
made, was the organ of that faction of the 
Abolitionists which had withdrawn from the 
Garrisonian camp. Phillips remained the at- 
torney-general of the Boston forces whose 
organ was The Liberator, and in that capacity 
he was very glad soon to be the spokesman at 
Faneuil Hall of the seventy thousand Irishmen 
who, with Daniel O'Connell and Father Mathew 
at their head, had sent over to their fellow 
countrymen here an urgent appeal to identify 
themselves with the Abolitionists. Up to this 
time the Irish in America had, almost without 

1 Memorial of Ann Phillips. 


exception, been on the side of slavery. The 
reason for this appears to have been that they 
feared the competition which would be offered 
in the labor market by the negro if free. Phillips, 
however, by the power of his matchless elo- 
quence, as he held that imposing petition in his 
hand, won to the side of freedom for the black 
man this huge Irish audience all of whom knew, 
themselves, only too well, the meaning of 
oppression. " Ireland," he said, " is the land 
of agitation and agitators. We may well learn 
a lesson from her in the battle for human rights. 
... I trust in that love of liberty which every 
Irishman brings to the country of his adoption, 
to make him true to her cause at the ballot-box, 
and throw no vote without asking if the hand 
to which he is about to trust political power 
will use it for the slave. When an American 
was introduced to O'Connell in the lobby of 
the House of Commons, he asked, without 
putting out his hand, ' Are you from the South.? ' 
' Yes, sir.' ' A slaveholder, I presume.? ' ' Yes, 
sir.' ' Then,' said the great liberator, ' I have 
no hand for you! ' and walked away. Shall his 
countrymen trust that hand with political 
power which O'Connell deemed it pollution to 
touch.? " 

Soon after this Phillips took a step for which 
he was greatly criticized: he personally seceded 
from the Union because, as he held, its Con- 


stitution was a pro-slavery one! The occasion 
for this step was the famous ruUng of Judge 
Shaw in the case of a mulatto named Latimer, 
who, in October, 1842, came to Boston from 
Norfolk, Virginia, and was thrown into jail 
on a charge of theft. It soon became clear that 
all that the man had stolen was — himself, and 
friends rallied to his side and demanded a trial 
by jury. Judge Shaw, however, denied this 
privilege on the ground that Latimer was a 
fugitive slave. " The Constitution of the 
United States," he declared, " authorizes the 
owner of such an one to arrest him in any State 
to which he may have fled." At a Sunday 
night meeting in Faneuil Hall, called together by 
the Abolitionists to denounce this decision, Phil- 
lips, referring to Judge Shaw's ruling exclaimed, 
" We presume to believe the Bible out-weighs 
the statute-book. When I look on those 
crowded thousands and see them trample on their 
consciences and on the rights of their fellow- 
men at the bidding of a piece of parchment, I 
say, my curse be on the Constitution of these 
United States ! " The case of Latimer had made 
him see clearly that his real quarrel, in all this 
advocacy of the black, was with the old pro- 
slavery Constitution, a document which de- 
manded that a Civil War must be fought before 
it could be effectually amended. From this 
time on Phillips neither practised in the courts 


— because, as an attorney he would have had to 
take an oath to support the Constitution — or 
used his right of ballot, since to vote would have 
been to participate actively in governmental 

As soon as Phillips' eyes had been opened to 
the fact that the Constitution was a pro-slavery 
document he " came out." Nor was he long 
to be alone in the position he had taken. There 
was soon a band of come-outers, with Garrison 
and Quincy to oflScer them. The question 
thus raised became the topic of debate at every 
anti-slavery meeting, and in 1843 the Massa- 
chusetts Society adopted " come-outer " reso- 
lutions, their example in this matter being fol- 
lowed, the next year, Iby the societies in New 
England and throughout the free States gener- 
ally. " No Union with Slave-holders " was 
now their motto. To be sure, there remained 
other earnest Abolitionists who did not see the 
matter thus, and they it was who formed the 
Liberty Party in the hope of attaining reform 
through the ballot — just as the Socialist Party 
now hopes to do. Thus it came about that the 
" moral suasionists and the political actionists " 
lined up in opposition each to the other. 

Phillips certainly made out a wonderful case 
for his side in his argument The Constitution a 
Pro-Slavery Compact, which he wrote and pub- 
lished in 1845. And his brochure, published 


in the same year, " Can Abolitionists Vote 
or Take Office under the United States Con- 
stitution? " is full of wit and telling stories. 
There is no better way of making plain his 
position as a " come-outer " than to quote a 
few paragraphs from this pamphlet. " My 
object," he says, " in becoming a disunionist 
is to free the slave, and meantime to live a 
consistent life. I want men to understand me. 
And I submit that the body of the Roman 
people understood better and felt more ear- 
nestly the struggle between the people and the 
princes, when the little band of democrats 
left the city and encamped on Mons Sacer, 
outside, than while they remained mixed up 
and voting with their masters. . . . Because 
we refuse to aid a wrongdoer in his sin we by 
no means proclaim that we think our whole 
character better than his. It is neither Phari- 
saical to have opinions nor presumptuous to 
guide our lives by them. He would be a strange 
preacher who should set out to reform his 
circle by joining in all their sins. This reminds 
me of the tipsy Duke of Norfolk, who seeing 
a drunken friend in the gutter hiccoughed: 
' My dear fellow, I can't help you out, but 
I'll do better — I'll lie down by your side! ' " 
Of course, Phillips was branded as a crank 
and a zealot by reason of the position he had 
taken, and he was told that he was meanwhile 


losing a golden opportunity to help amend the 
Constitution by voting right, but to this he 
replied that he could not, on that account, swear 
to support it "as it is. What it may become 
we know not. We speak of it as it is and 
repudiate it as it is. We will not brand it 
as Pro-Slavery after it has ceased to be so. 
This objection to our position reminds me of 
Miss Martineau's story of the little boy who 
hurt himself and sat crying on the sidewalk. 
' Don't cry,' said a friend, ' it won't hurt you 
to-morrow.' ' Well then,' whimpered the child, 
' I won't cry to-morrow ! ' " 

A man who would refuse to vote because 
the Constitution under which he must needs 
exercise the suffrage defended an institution 
he abhorred would, not unnaturally, proceed 
to cut himself off, also, from an organized 
church whose officers were, most of them, 
advocates of slavery. Phillips had had a 
very religious mother and he was himself 
deeply religious. To a personal friend who 
asked him, not long before his death, whether 
he had ever consecrated himself to God he 
replied, " Yes, when I was a boy fourteen years 
of age, in the old church at the North End, I 
heard Lyman Beecher preach on the theme, 
' You belong to God,' and I went home, after 
that service, threw myself on the floor of my 
room, with locked doors, and prayed, ' Oh God, 


I belong to Thee; take what is Thine own. I 
ask this, that whenever a thing be wrong it 
may have no power of temptation over me; 
whenever a thing be right it may take no 
courage to do it.' From that day to this," 
added PhiUips, " it has been so. Whenever I 
have known a thing to be wrong it has held no 
temptation. "Whenever I have known a thing 
to be right it has taken no courage to do it."^ 
A man who could honestly say this when 
arrived at old age would not lightly have 
broken away from the institution through 
which so much of moral power had come to 
him. Phillips continued to hold fast to his 
ancestral faith, but he, none the less, denounced 
the Church as it existed precisely in the spirit 
in which many good men today are denouncing 
it. Yet at many a meeting of the Radical Club 
he testified in no uncertain fashion to his own 
strictly orthodox beliefs. He was not a member 
of this club, which was wont to meet at the 
Chestnut Street home of Rev. John T. Sargent 
and his wife, but he was a frequent guest there, 
and he always took the conservative ground 
when religious radicalism was being advanced. 
On one occasion, when Emerson had read an 
essay on religion in which he claimed that 
Christianity was only one faith more, a modifica- 

' Evidence of Rev. O. P. Gifford, D. D. Reported in the Golden 
Ride August 15, 1889, 


tion of Judaism or Buddhism, Phillips, in a 
masterly rejoinder, maintained that Chris- 
tianity had in it something essentially different 
from the religious experience of other races. 
On another occasion, at the same place, he 
commented thus on the paper which Rev. W. 
H. Channing had just read on " the Christian 
Name:" "Jesus is the divine type who has 
given His peculiar form to the modern world. 
. . . Europe shows a type of human character 
not paralleled anywhere else. The intellect 
of Greece centred around power and beauty; 
that of Rome around legal justice. The civi- 
lization of modern Europe was inspired by a 
great moral purpose. Imperfect as it was and 
limited in many ways, the religious element 
there had steadily carried those nations for- 
ward. The battle for human rights was finally 
fought on a Christian plane. . . . The power 
that urged the world forward came from Chris- 
tianity." And one day, when John Weiss spoke 
on " Heart in Religion," contending that Jesus 
was effeminate, Phillips said, " You speculate 
as to whether Jesus was a masculine character. 
Look at the men who have learned of Him 
most closely, — at Paul and Luther and Wesley. 
Were they effeminate? Yet the disciple is 
but a faint reflection of his Master. The 
character from which came the force which has 
been doing battle ever since with wrong and 


falsehood and error was nothing less than 
masculine; but sentiment is the toughest thing 
in the world, — nothing else is iron." A man 
so honoring Christ could not be anti-Christian 
though he was " anti-Church." " He dis- 
tinguished," says his biographer, Carlos Martyn, 
(writing in 1890) " between Christianity and 
Churchianity; the distinction may be needed 
again sometime." How interestingly history 
repeats itself in the case of reformers! I am 
constantly hearing this distinction made today 
by men who think the Church of Christ is not 
living up to the Truth Christ came to proclaim. 
Because Wendell Phillips was no longer a 
practising lawyer, with a lawyer's natural 
means of self-expression and self-assertion; be- 
cause, too, he had cut away from church 
organization and the help that might have 
afforded him, he now proceeded to construct 
for himself a platform, — he became, in a word, 
that new thing in American life, a professional 
agitator. It was his firm belief that in every 
age there are wrongs which must be righted, 
and he maintained that neither the press, nor 
political parties, nor the pulpit could do so 
much towards getting them righted as a free 
citizen who should have the will and the skill 
to present to the attention of the people at 
large the particular question under debate. 
He was by no means deceived as to the diffi- 


culties which would be encountered in winning 
adherents to an unpopular cause. For he saw — 
none more clearly — that, " in a country like 
ours, of absolute democratic equality . . . there 
is no refuge from the tyranny of public opinion. 
The result is that, if you take the old Greek 
lantern and go about to seek among a hundred, 
you will find not one single American who 
really has not, or who does not fancy at least 
that he has, something to gain or lose in his 
ambition, his social life or his business from the 
good opinion and the votes of those around him. 
And the consequence is that, instead of being 
a mass of individuals, each one fearlessly 
blurting out his own convictions, as a nation, 
compared with other nations, we are a mass of 
cowards." ^ 

Phillips, however, was just enough not to 
blame the pulpit or the press unduly for being 
bound by the average sentiment. " As the 
minister's settlement and salary," he said, 
" depend upon the unity and good will of the 
people he preaches to, he cannot fairly be 
expected, save in exceptional and special cases, 
to antagonize his flock. If all clergymen were 
like Paul or Luther or Wesley they might give, 
not take orders. But as the average clergyman 
is an average man he will be bound by average 

' Oration delivered at the O'Connell Celebration in Boston, 
August 6, 1870, 


conditions." ^ Similarly, he held it to be 
unreasonable to expect of the press a loftier 
tone than that taken by the constituency who 
support it. " The moment therefore," he 
concluded, " that a large issue, twenty years 
ahead of its age, presents itself to the considera- 
tion of an empire or of a republic, just in pro- 
portion to the freedom of its institutions is 
the necessity of a platform outside of the press, 
of politics and of the Church, whereon stand 
men with no candidate to elect, with no plan 
to carry, with no reputation to stake, with no 
object but the truth, no purpose but to tear 
the question open and let the light through 

Especially in a republic is agitation necessary, 
he insisted, in his lecture on Public Opinion. 
" Only by unintermitted agitation can a people 
be kept sufficiently awake to principle not to 
let liberty be smothered in material prosperity." 
Surely we of today know the truth of that 
great saying, first set forth at the Melodeon, 
in Boston, January 28, 1852. " Republics," 
he then went on, " exist only on the tenure of 
being constantly agitated. . . . Never, to our 
latest posterity, can we afford to do without 
prophets like Garrison, to stir up the monotony 
of wealth and reawake the people to the great 
ideas that are constantly fading out of their 

1 Extract from a lecture on Agitation. 


minds — to trouble the waters that there may 
be health in their flow." One other axiom held 
by Wendell Phillips, agitator, was that he and 
others like him should, on the platform, tell " the 
truth, the whole truth and nothing but the 
truth." Under this rule he used a plainness 
of speech which often considerably shocked a 
generation inured to euphemism. Words " with 
which we have no concern," to paraphrase 
Barrie's Tommy, abounded in his lectures. 
But, like Whitman, he was coarse, not for 
coarseness' sake but because he wished to goad 
his hearers to attention. As when he declared 
the South to be " one great brothel," or again, 
when, speaking of the defection of Webster, 
he said, "It is not often that Providence per- 
mits the eyes of twenty millions of thinking 
people to behold the fall of another Lucifer, 
from the very battlements of Heaven, down into 
that ' lower deep of the lowest deep ' of hell." 

Of course, under the present system, a man 
who should speak his mind thus freely would 
need to have a modest inheritance upon which 
to live. Phillips, happily, was so circumstanced 
that, even before he began to earn large fees 
from his lectures, he was independent in matters 
of money. And he had a very happy home life 
in spite of the invalidism of his beloved wife. 
Dr. Samuel A. Green, ex-Mayor of Boston, 
who was a near neighbor of Phillips when the 

1^ o 

Page 212. 


orator lived on Essex Street, tells me that, 
though he was often at the Phillips home, he 
never saw Mrs. Phillips. Yet he constantly 
felt her presence, for her husband quoted her 
wit and wisdom to all his friends and so passed 
on to them something of the inspiration he 
himself drew from her brave and buoyant 
spirit. Debarred from attendance at concerts, 
of which she was very fond, Mrs. Phillips 
derived much pleasure in listening to the strains 
of the hand-organs which played often under 
her window, and it is said that her last word to 
Mr. Phillips, when he was going out, would 
always be, " Wendell, don't forget the organ 
money." The meals in their little home were 
always served in the invalid's room, he on this 
side and she on that of a tiny table, and at such 
times the married lovers were wont to converse 
in the language of Moliere. As the husband put 
it to a friend, " We eat in French." 

Early in 1847 a new neighbor came to take up 
his abode near the Phillips home, Theodore 
Parker, whose house in Exeter Place was hence- 
forth directly in the rear of " 26 Essex Street." 
Though Phillips and Parker diflfered greatly in 
their theology they were united in love of 
books and in zeal for human freedom. Their 
intimacy became a source of great joy and 
stimulus to both. Both needed it, too, for 
Abolitionists were bitterly hated by those who 


would not or could not understand them, and 
Phillips and Parker often carried their lives 
in their hands as they walked down Essex 
Street to their homes after a stormy meeting. 
Frederick Douglass, in a letter to Mary Liver- 
more, tells of one occasion in particular when 
it was proposed to shed the blood of Phillips 
to appease the slave god of the South, and when 
Phillips and Maria Weston Chapman literally 
hazarded their lives by walking through the 
dense excited mass of people from Cambridge 
Street through Belknap [Joy] Street " to the 
little Baptist Church once presided over by 
Father Snowdon." It took great courage in 
those times even to express sympathy with 
Parker or Phillips ! What has been characterized 
as " one of the bravest acts of Henry Ward 
Beecher's life " was when, in 1850, after the 
Abolitionists had been mobbed in New York, 
that gifted preacher (then not an Abolitionist 
himself) opened Plymouth Church to Phillips 
and appeared with him on the platform to 
signify his appreciation of free speech. Phillips 
was always perfectly serene on these dangerous 
occasions. " I was amazed," Beecher wrote 
afterward, " at the unagitated Agitator, — so 
calm, so fearless, so incisive, — every word a 
bullet. I never heard a more effective speech 
than Mr. Phillips' that night. He seemed in- 
spired and played with his audience (turbulent. 


of course) as Gulliver might with the Lilliputians. 
He had the dignity of Pitt, the vigor of Fox, the 
wit of Sheridan, the satire of Junius, — and a 
grace and music all his own." 

To Phillips, as to all other right-minded New 
Englanders, Webster's advocacy of the Fugitive 
Slave Law was a severe trial of faith in human 
nature, — as well as a keen disappointment. 
Webster had previously done yeoman service 
on the side of freedom. Moreover, it would 
seem to have been true, as Henry Cabot Lodge 
says, that " no man in all history ever came into 
the world so equipped physically to serve a 
noble cause by speech." The impression Web- 
ster commonly produced was like that made 
upon the English navvy who pointed at Webster 
in the streets of Liverpool and said, " There 
goes a king." Sydney Smith exclaimed when 
he saw him, " Good heavens, he is a small 
cathedral by himself." And Carlyle, who did 
not too much love America, wrote to Emerson, 
" Not many days ago I saw at breakfast the 
notablest of all your notabilities, Daniel Webster. 
... As a logic fencer or parliamentary Her- 
cules, one would incline to back him at first 
sight against all the extant world. The tanned 
complexion; that amorphous crag-like face; 
the dull black eyes under the precipice of brows, 
like dull anthracite furnaces needing only to 
be blown; the mastiff mouth accurately closed; 


I have not traced so much silent Berserker rage 
that I remember of in any man. " Yet when all 
eyes were fixed upon Webster and he had the 
chance of his life for power and prophecy he 
faced South instead of North — and betrayed 
the constituents who trusted him. Whether 
the dominant desire of his seventh of March 
speech was to arrest the whole anti-slavery 
movement and in that way put an end to the 
dangers which threatened the Union, or whether 
his only thought, as his harshest critics aver, 
was so to curry favor with the South that he 
would gain the Presidency he coveted, the 
result was the same : for him moral and political 
suicide; for those who had believed in him 
bitter disappointment and disillusion. 

"Happily there was raised up, just then, to 
lift the flag of freedom which Webster had 
allowed to be trampled in the dust, Charles 
Sumner, who had been Phillips' friend in college 
and who had latterly been growing greatly in 
power and in the confidence of the public. 
Sumner was Bostonian to the core. The family 
home, where he was born, was on the corner 
of Revere and Irving Streets and in the upper 
part of the house his aunt kept a private school 
at which he received his first instruction. 
At the university Sumner had had a brilliant 
career and after he began the practice of law 
in Boston he was able to build up a lucrative 


practice much more quickly than is usually the 
case with young lawyers. But as yet he had 
felt no overwhelming interest in public affairs. 
Instead, it was literature and literary men which 
fascinated him, and when (in 1837) he went on 
a European tour it was Carlyle, Wordsworth, 
Lady Blessington and Mrs. Jameson in whose 
society he delighted, not in that of George 
Thompson or his co-workers. Even when he 
returned to Boston (in the spring of 1840) and 
was welcomed back into a circle which included 
Judge Story, Washington AUston, Jeremiah 
Mason, Dr. Channing, Rufus Choate, Prescott, 
Bancroft, Longfellow, Dr. Howe and Felton 
(some of whom were ardent Abolitionists) his 
interest in the anti-slavery cause was only a 
mild one. Always, however, he was distin- 
guished by a fine sense of duty and by an inclina- 
tion to unselfish service. To Horace Mann he 
gave substantial aid in his efforts to improve 
educational methods in Massachusetts, and Dr. 
Howe he helped in such ways as he could in his 
work for the blind. Howe, who was one of his 
warmest friends, wrote him, about this time, 
" I know not where you may be or what you 
may be about; but I know what you are not 
about; you are not seeking your own pleasure 
or striving to advance your own interests; you 
are, I warrant me, on some errand of kindness 
— some work for a friend or for the public." 


So the soil was ready. Should Sumner once 
become aroused to the overwhelming importance 
of the anti-slavery cause none could be more 
depended on than he to give it enthusiastic 
support. His debut as a public speaker came 
in 1845 when he was invited to deliver the 
Fourth of July oration in Boston. The subject 
he chose was — Peace. It was a significant 
choice, not so much because Peace was an 
unusual topic for a Fourth of July oration 
(though it was that), as because of the way in 
which the speaker proceeded to marshal his 
arguments against the horrors of war, its sinful 
wastefulness, its absurdity and its utter failure, 
in most cases, to accomplish the object for 
which it had been waged. It was a speech fifty 
years ahead of its time, and it demonstrated 
conclusively that Charles Sumner possessed high 
courage as well as marked eloquence and rare 
scholarship. Though he was still less than 
thirty-five, Sumner was, from that moment, a 
recognized leader of men ! 

His next noteworthy speech was a Phi Beta 
Kappa oration in the summer of 1846, and in 
this he " took advantage of the occasion to 
express himself freely, especially on the two great 
questions of slavery and war." About the 
former topic he had been thinking deeply since 
the Fourth of July of a year ago, and of the 
result Emerson wrote in his journal : " Sumner's 


oration was marked with a certain magnificence 
which I do not well know how to parallel; " 
and Everett said, " It was an amazingly splendid 
affair. I never heard it surpassed; I don't 
know that I ever heard it equalled." The 
following month Sumner broke into politics, 
being sent as a delegate to the Whig State 
convention and voicing very effectively there 
the sentiments of the anti-slavery faction in 
that party. When Webster, however, became, 
in his famous speech of March 7, 1850, the 
apologist of slavery, the swan-song of the Whig 
party was sung, in Massachusetts. And when 
Charles Sumner was elected to replace Webster 
in the Senate (the great Daniel having been 
called into President Fillmore's Cabinet) it was 
as the choice of the Free Soil party, the child 
and successor of the old Liberty party, that 
he entered upon his duties. This " party of 
freedom," as Sumner termed it, was founded on 
the principle that new States admitted to the 
Union should be free States. Gloriously did 
Charles Sumner uphold this principle in Wash- 
ington ! 

In Massachusetts, meanwhile, Wendell Phil- 
ips, agitator, embraced a new cause. In 
London, it will be recalled, Phillips, at a crucial 
moment in the anti-slavery movement, cham- 
pioned the cause of Woman. Naturally, there- 
fore, he was glad, with Mrs. Phillips, to sign 


the call for the Women's Rights Convention 
which met at Worcester, Massachusetts, October 
23 and 24, 1850. The year is important because 
in Old England, as in New England, the women's 
cause — to which Mary A. Livermore and Lucy 
Stone here gave their lives — dates from this 
Worcester gathering; the Westminster Review, 
apropos of the convention, gave space to an 
exhaustive article on the subject written by 
Mrs. John Stuart Mill. The attendance at 
Worcester was large, women naturally being 
in the majority; but Phillips, Garrison and 
Douglass were there, also, to represent the 
anti-slavery interest, and Sargent and Channing 
found their way to the meetings in behalf of 
the liberal pulpit. The illiberal pulpit com- 
mented upon the gathering in characteristically 
unpleasant fashion. A certain Universalist 
clergyman — whose name Carlos Martyn says 
it would be cruel to give but which I should give 
just the same if I knew it — thus announced 
a meeting at which Lucy Stone was to speak: 
" Tonight, at the Town Hall, a hen will attempt 
to crow." One very interesting thing about 
this convention was that Wendell Phillips 
there made a prophecy, for which he was 
rebuked by Lucretia Mott, but of which time 
has, none the less, proved the truth: i. e., that 
" the cause would meet more immediate and 
palpable and insulting opposition from women 


than from men." Only now, after sixty years, 
are women in any appreciable numbers espousing 
the principles for which that convention first 
stood, principles set forth for all time by 
Phillips a year later in that matchless speech 
of which George William Curtis has said: 
"... All the pleas for applying the American 
principle of representation to the wives and 
mothers of American citizens echo the elo- 
quence of Wendell Phillips at Worcester." 
This address is easily accessible in the collected 
speeches of Phillips, But I would advise all 
men who prefer to " protect " women and 
keep them in " their place, the home," (for- 
getting that more than six million women in 
the United States are already earning their 
living outside the home) I would advise such 
men and women, I say, not to read the speech. 
It will make them feel so silly ! 

When Phillips met Theodore Parker, after 
returning from the Women's Rights Conven- 
tion, the clergyman said to him: 

" Wendell, why do you make a fool of your- 
self.? " 

" Theodore," was the reply, " this is the 
greatest question of the ages; you ought to 
understand it." 

Inside of a year Parker had not only espoused 
the cause but had preached four sermons on 


It was in the year 1851, which we have now 
reached in our story of Phillips' life, that Kos- 
suth came to America, seeking the intervention 
of the United States in the cause of Hungary 
against Austria. Kossuth is remembered by 
a few " old-timers " as a " short thick-set man 
with brown hair, a full brown beard and large 
blue eyes." He was a graceful and impressive 
speaker, aflame with patriotic devotion to his 
oppressed country. But, unhappily for his 
cause in Boston, he ignored the fact that in 
this country also, a large question concerning 
human freedom was being debated. He ac- 
cepted the hospitality of slave-holders while 
in the South and he carefully refrained from 
raising his voice on what, to the Abolitionists, 
was the most important issue then connected 
with the word, freedom. Wendell Phillips, 
accordingly, improved the opportunity oifered 
by the annual anti-slavery Bazaar in Boston 
to make (on December 27, 1851) a perfectly 
tremendous speech on Kossuth's anomalous 
position. He showed that the patriot had 
been informed of the condition of the American 
struggle before he left the old world, so that he 
could not plead ignorance as his excuse, and 
he contrasted — greatly to Kossuth's disad- 
vantage — his attitude in regard to the in- 
stitution of slavery with that of Lafayette and 
O'Connell. Not that Phillips felt it necessary 


that Kossuth, who had come to raise money 
for Hungary, should take a pronounced anti- 
slavery stand; but he did feel that this friend 
of freedom might at least have withheld sweep- 
ing praise of American institutions, praise so 
fulsome and so enthusiastic as to convince 
the slave-holders that their visitor distinctly 
approved of them and of their ways. The only 
report of the speech is in the Liberator (vol. 
XXII, p. 3), but it is well worth searching out 
there, for Phillips never rose to greater heights 
than when he pointed out to Bostonians the 
paradox of Kossuth's position in America and 
lashed with sarcasm this eminent patriot who 
was endorsing the " great American lie, that 
to save or benefit one class a man may right- 
eously sacrifice the rights of another." Webster, 
who since his speech in behalf of the Fugitive 
Slave Law had systematically adhered to the 
position then taken, fittingly did the honors 
for Boston at the dinner given here to Kossuth. 
A year later Webster was no more and Boston 
honored him in the last rites that may be paid 
to any man. Though the use of Faneuil Hall 
for a reception had been refused the great 
Daniel by the Boston board of aldermen only 
a year before, his faults were now forgotten in 
genuine grief at the passing on October 24, 1852, 
of a mighty intellect. The burial was at Marsh- 
field, Webster's summer home, and though the 


nearest railway station then was at Kingston, 
eight miles distant, and transportation was not 
easy, twenty thousand people went out for the 
services. Crowded memorial services were sub- 
sequently held in Faneuil Hall and in the HoUis 
Street Church, and beautiful and appropriate 
mourning was displayed for days throughout 
the city. From Faneuil Hall was hung a banner 
inscribed, "Like Daniel of Old: His Trust 
Was In God. Upon Whom Shall His Mantle 
Pall.? " And from Bunker Hill where he had 
made two of the greatest speeches in the English 
language floated the legend, " Bunker Hill 
Mourns the Departed Patriot." 

One other important thing happened in 
Boston that year of our Lord 1852. J. P. 
Jewett, a young and hitherto unknown pub- 
lisher, brought out in book form Harriet Beecher 
Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. Mrs. Stowe had 
known Boston well as a girl, for her father 
had been a prominent pastor here. But during 
her maturity the city seems to have made its 
impression upon her chiefly through the Libera- 
tor. Not only had she diligently read this 
and other an ti -slavery papers; she had seen 
slavery at work in Kentucky. For nearly 
twenty years before the publication of "Uncle 
Tom " she had been brooding over the wrongs 
of the slaves. When comparative leisure came 
to her the story, as she has said, " wrote itself," 


(At the time it found its way to paper she was 
living in what was then known as the Titcomb 
house in Brunswick, Maine, where her husband, 
Professor Stowe, had lately been called as the 
incumbent of the chair of natural and revealed 
rehgion at Bowdoin College.) 

No woman with Mrs. Stowe's heritage and 
character could have had intimate knowledge 
of the horrors of slavery without being deeply 
moved by them. Yet, until she came back to 
New England, by way of Boston, she had not 
felt impelled to the duty she afterwards under- 
took. On her journey to Maine she happened 
to stop at the Boston home of her brother. 
Dr. Edward Beecher. Daniel Webster's Seventh 
of March speech was still ringing in the ears 
'of the people and all good men were aflame 
with the infamy of the Fugitive Slave Act 
which he had been defending. The heart- 
rending scenes which occurred in connection 
with slave-renditions under this Act were re- 
hearsed and commented on in all Abolition 
homes and terrible stories told of men frozen 
while trying to escape in the dead of winter 
through rivers and pathless forests to Canada. 
After Mrs. Stowe reached Brunswick her Bos- 
ton sister-in-law wrote her, " Hattie, if I could 
use a pen as you can I would write something to 
make this whole nation feel what an accursed 
thing slavery is." While Mrs. Stowe was pon- 


dering this saying she came upon an authenti- 
cated account, in an anti-slavery magazine, of 
the escape of a woman with her child on the ice 
across the Ohio River from Kentucky. This 
suggested a plot which soon crystallized in 
Uncle Tom's Cabin. The National Era, pub- 
lished in Washington, was glad to bring the 
story out in numbers and for this Mrs. 
■Stowe received three hundred dollars. But it 
remained for J. P. Jewett, of Boston, to see the 
great possibilities of the story when it should be 
brought out in book form. None the less he 
hesitated over the step, for the work was longer 
than he would have wished. When, however, 
the competent literary critic to whom he had 
submitted it for an opinion reported, "The story 
has life in it; it will sell," he hesitated no 
more. Finding that Professor Stowe could not 
share equally with him the expense and the 
profits of bringing out the work Mr. Jewett 
offered the usual ten per cent, royalty, which 
was accepted. 

The success of the book was immediate. 
Three thousand copies were sold the first day 
and within a few days ten thousand copies 
had gone. Then a second edition went to press, 
and thereafter eight presses, running night and 
day, were barely able to keep pace with the 
demand. Within a year three hundred thou- 
sand copies were sold and newspapers and 



pulpits were alternately defending and attack- 
ing the book. 

Mrs. Stowe was now comparatively rich as 
well as famous. When her husband, four months 
after the book's publica- ;^^^^,,,^^^,^,^,^^^^^^^^^^__, 
tion, was asked by Mr. 
Jewett how much he 
expected to receive as 
royalty, he replied whim- 
sically that he hadn't 
the slightest idea but 
hoped it would be enough 
to buy Mrs. Stowe a 
new silk dress. The pub- 
lisher handed him a check 
for ten thousand dollars. 
Yet because the author 
had neglected to secure 
the dramatic rights of 
her work she derived no 
profits from the great 
success the story had 
as a play. It was first 
presented on the stage 
in August, 1852, — and 
today it is being played 
by scores of travelling 
companies in the United States. From its enor- 
mous success, both as a book and as a play, the 
story earned vast sums in Europe also. But from 

An E^tion for the Uillion., 
vKChD Tosrs OASxer roa 8714 cvb. 

Dnrivallcd work nt a prico bo low as la brlfiji It frirhin 
th« mainiof every p«iMn. Ii M«na i work of >aper> 
«ro;;Btion ia ipoak in eaiapliatenUiT lenat Of.s 

of which hlT« b«n printed. In tTila iwhntTT »nl lo 
Eurnpp. in B littlo man than rix RiDntha,— a ant* 
which haanncoamerpartinthaworld'a hlaurf. Yet^ 
tiniwiihatanding thiiimmenie Mlp.thcraaTe hundred! 
at thouiKnda in our own cnontry whn hii*e nit ret 
prruaml the gliwifi;; pages nf UNCLE TOM'S CAB- 
IN, many nf whom hitvo been, prevented ftnm doing 
at), from insbilily to pnrchaif. To rcmoTo this obau> 
clc, wo hnve iasucd thii edition 


AnH milliona will now read It, and owp it, and drink 
In ill hciTFnly prtnciplm, and the living grnnatiou 
ofnipn will imbibe it« noble aentlmenta, asif it'nrni. 
tinns yet unbnm will riae up and blctaita author, mA. 
thnnk the Ood nf Henvcn for Jnapirlnj; ■ nnble wo. 
rmnn to utttT Huch glnvtinf, burnin({ trathat'-forthefo* 
demptinn of the opprf»ed mitlinnt of oar rncp. 

To Knokacllprii, PhilRnthrnpiRta, or BwEeClc*, who 
wJRh ta purchase the Rhore by the thouxandi fur m}a 
or diftrihutinn, a lihprnl diicnun* will be made, Th* 
editinn i*vcry nc^ttly printed inalarfconctavopamph. 
let of ids pn^e*, double columni, thick paper cavera, 
and 6rmly stitched. Wo now oBn to the puUio tb* 
following editions :->- 


The edition for tho Million, S7 1-2 cttita. 

In German, (in press, to be puhliahed 

about tho Isi of Junuary, 1853.) 60 ** 
The edition in two vols., bound in 

cloth, be«t librnry ediUon, SI 60 

Superb Illuitracod E'liiinn, with 145 

Original Designs, by Hillings, en* 

(>rnvBd by Dnkcr Be Siqltb, in t 

-vol. octavo, clothi 2'50 

Cloth, full ailt, 3'fiO 

"Exist Turkey, full Rilt, 5 00 

JOHN P. JEWETT h CO.* Publisrem, 


mnd in a few dnys will offer to the public, 

Ecing a oompleto refutation of some chnrgM which 
have bef^ made sgsinst her on account of alloged 
ovcratAtrmonrs of fqcm in Uncle Tom. It will mtk* 
n pamphlet of about 100 pigcs, doub)6 columns, anl 
will |iTe«ent oriAionl facia and documents, most 
lhoromIh^v cstoblishint; the truth of CTor; aiutcmcnt 
in her houlu Prico 25 etc 
Dec 3 fitia 


these Mrs. Stowe made no money; and by tlie 
laws of her own country even her ten per 
cent, on the American sales of the book ceased 
before her death. 

But Harriet Beecher Stowe had written 
Uncle Tom's Cabin to advance a cause and 
not to accumulate wealth. How wonderfully 
it did this every American school boy knows. 
Charles Dudley Warner (in the Atlantic Monthly 
of September, 1896) attributes to the vigorous 
and noble appeal which Mrs. Stowe addressed 
to the women of England, — while the Civil 
War was going on, — a great measure of the 
sympathy that England felt for the North 
during that " irrepressible conflict." And this 
appeal was directly due to a remarkable docu- 
ment sent to the women of America by the 
women of England just after " Uncle Tom " 
was brought out in the mother country. There 
had then (in 1853) been presented to Mrs. 
Stowe as a result of a meeting at Stafford House 
a huge petition against slavery together with 
,an address composed by Lord Shaftesbury. 
This petition had previously been put into the 
hands of canvassers in England and on the 
continent as far as Jerusalem, with the result 
that signatures of 562,848 women were ob- 
tained " with their occupations and residences 
from the nobility on the steps of the throne 
down to the maids in the kitchen." All who 

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signed the petition acknowledged England's 
complicity in the sin of slavery but prayed for 
aid in removing from the country " our common 
crimes and common dishonor." 

Personally, Mrs. Stowe was the most in- 
teresting member of a highly interesting family. 
She was attractive to look at, too, though the 
portraits of her which are usually given would 
not in the least lead one so to believe. Mrs. 
Fields, who has written her life, tells us that 
once, after she had accompanied Mrs. Stowe 
to a well-known house in Boston, the hostess 
came to her exclaiming, " Why did you not 
tell me that Mrs. Stowe was beautiful.? " 
Mrs. Stowe herself relates that during her 
triumphant tour of England, after the pub- 
lication of Uncle Tom's Cabin, the general 
topic of remark on meeting her seemed to be 
that she was " not so badlooking " as they were 
afraid she was. 

Lincoln characterized Harriet Beecher Stowe 
as " the little woman who made this great 
war." Before the publication of her book, 
slavery, though the question of questions for a 
devoted body of reformers, was an academic 
question to people generally. After the book 
came out it became a matter of wide popular 
interest. This interest the anti-slavery societies 
carefully fanned. Meeting after meeting was 
arranged with stirring addresses and special 


anti-slavery hymns or songs in which all could 
join. Moreover, Bostonians, who had here- 
tofore been comparatively conservative, began 
to concern themselves that territories about 
to be admitted to the Union should be of the 
" Free State " variety. By the autumn of 1854 
Amos A. Lawrence and his associates began 
to send men out to Kansas in order to make 
that a free State, and these parties would go 
swinging across the intervening territory singing 
the words of Whittier : 

" We cross the prairie as of old 
The Pilgrims crossed the sea. 
To make the West, as they the East, 
The homestead of the free." 

Now it happened that, ten years earlier, a 
certain John Brown, who had meanwhile grown 
more and more interested in the suppression 
of slavery, had been the buying agent in Ohio 
of the wool firm in which Amos Lawrence of 
Boston was a member. We are beginning, are 
we not, to smell powder.'* It seems, at any 
rate, to be a fact that Amos Lawrence and his 
co-workers in the Massachusetts Emigrant Aid 
Company were soon giving not only moral 
support to the men who were going out to help 
make Kansas a free State; they were also, as 
Frank Sanborn makes very clear (in his Life and 
Letters of John Brown), helping them, as early 
as 1855, by supplying them with Sharpe's rifles! 


John Brown's first visit to Boston, for the 
purpose of advancing his plans for Kansas (to 
which place he had gone, two years earlier, 
from his home in North Elba, New York), 
occurred just after Christmas, 1856. He came 
at the invitation of George Luther Stearns, a 
wealthy Boston manufacturer whose home was 
in Medford and who had married the niece of 
Lydia Maria Child. The next Sunday, the first 
in January, 1857, Brown went to the Boston 
Music Hall to hear Theodore Parker preach. 
He seems indeed to have met a number of the 
Abolitionists of the city during his stay here 
and to have stimulated very effectively the 
determination which existed to make Kansas 
a free State. The crisis called for action. For 
in spite of yeoman service rendered by Sumner 
in the Senate the Missouri Compromise had 
been repealed and the Kansas-Nebraska Bill 
passed. This Bill provided that the question of 
slavery in a State should be determined by those 
who settled there. The need of the moment 
was that Kansas should be settled by colonists 
who would be anti-slavery men, men who 
should send forth an " everlasting No " to 
every scheme to advance the Southern interest. 

Boston became the centre of operation for the 
ensuing organization. Dr. Samuel Gridley 
Howe, who had fought for Greek independence 
and participated also in the revolutionary strug- 


gles of Poland and France, took an especially 
deep interest in making Kansas a Free State, 
and at his office on Bromfield Street were to be 
met those men and women who were similarly 
concerned. For while the men were raising 
funds to furnish the Kansas colonists with 
Sharpe's rifles and ammunition the women were 
getting together clothing and money for food 
to be forwarded by a committee of which Mrs. 
Samuel Cabot, Jr., was the efficient and ad- 
mirable head. 

Sumner imperilled his life, as the event 
proved, for a free Kansas. At first the pro- 
slavery element* had been successful out there — 
thanks to neighboring Missourians who de- 
liberately rode across the line to vote fraudu- 
lently, to shoot and to rob. The Legislature 
which these men put in promptly took steps 
to make Kansas a slave Territory and passed 
a severe code of laws for the protection of 
slavery. Northern men proceeded to ignore 
this government as illegitimate, by meeting in 
convention at Topeka, forming a State Con- 
stitution and in turn seeking admittance to 
the Union. Thus there were two authorities 
in Kansas, one pro-slavery, the other anti- 
slavery, and for about two years the history of 
the settlement was one of disgraceful violence. 
From November first, 1855, until that December 
when John Brown came to Boston, and heard 


Theodore Parker preach it was estimated that 
about two hundred persons had been killed 
in the Territory, and property worth not less 
than two million dollars destroyed. 

For Bostonians and for the future, howeverj 
the most far-reaching issue raised by the 
Kansas question came in the savage attack 
made on Charles Sumner, in May, 1856, follow- 
ing what Whittier termed the " grand and 
terrible philippic " delivered by that senator 
against the terrible wrong to freedom which 
had been committed in the Territory by the 
slave-power. " The Crime Against Kansas " 
Sumner called his speech, and he attacked with 
special severity Senator Butler of South Caro- 
lina. Preston S. Brooks, a representative from 
that State and a kinsman of Butler, determined 
to take revenge, and on May 22, while Sumner 
sat at his desk engaged in writing letters, 
crept up upon him and struck him again and 
again over the head with a heavy walking 
stick. So seriously was Sumner injured by 
this dastardly attack that he did not recover for 
a number of years; but the most important 
result of it all was the indignation which was 
everywhere fomented in the North against 
the South by a sympathy for Brooks which was 
shown by returning him again to Washington. 
Nothing that had occurred before the outbreak 
of the war did more to estrange the two sections 


than this. Sumner magnanimously charged 
the whole thing up where it belonged — to the 
slaveholders of the South. Years afterward, 
when walking with George William Curtis in 
the Congressional Cemetery, his attention was 
called to the cenotaph of Brooks, which he had 
not seen. " How do you feel about Brooks? " 
Curtis asked him. . " Only as to a brick that 
should fall upon my head from a chimney," 
came the reply. " He was the unconscious 
agent of a malign power." 

That power was soon to array itself definitively 
against the North. And it was through Kansas, 
fittingly enough, that the long-delayed struggle 
was precipitated. For John Brown, as has been 
said, was the soul of the organization through 
which it was ere long recognized that slaves 
could not be held in Kansas. And from Brown's 
success in this connection it was that he mus- 
tered resolution for that daring raid upon Har- 
per's Ferry which cost him his life and per- 
suaded even Wendell Phillips, — who had spent 
years of patient effort in the endeavor to avoid 
a physical conflict between the North and the 
South, — that the question could be settled 
for all time in one way only and that way — 



WE have already seen that during John 
Brown's momentous first visit to Boston 
he went to Music Hall to hear Theo- 
dore Parker preach. Who else was hearing 
Parker? And how did it happen that this 
greatest of Boston Radicals was to be enjoyed 
on Sundays, only in a hall which had been 
built for concert purposes? 

The answer to these two questions should 
contain matter of deep interest to us who are 
now following causes and currents in nine- 
teenth century Boston. For Theodore Parker 
is one of Boston's most distinguished sons, 
though he was bom not in Boston but near by 
in Lexington, and though Boston early repudi- 
ated him. His grandfather, John Parker, was 
that captain of minute men who commanded 
his band of followers, " Don't fire unless fired 
upon; but if they mean to have a war, let it 
begin here ! " The grandson was to take a 
similarly indomitable tone concerning resistance 
to the slave power and to theological tyranny. 


On the mother's side there was good stock, 
too. " For she was," wrote her famous son 
in that autobiography which, unhappily, is 
merely a fragment, " eminently a religious 
woman. . . . She saw Him in the rainbow, and 
in the drops of rain which helped to compose 
it as they fell into the muddy ground, to come 
up grass and trees and corn and flowers. She 
took a deep and still delight in silent prayer. 
. . . The more spiritual part of the Bible 
formed her favorite reading; the dark theology 
of the times seems not to have stained her soul 
at all." 

So it was a goodly heritage which Parker 
had in the predispositions of his character. 
It was, however, his sole heritage. His father 
could not afford to support him at Harvard 
College (which the lad had entered without 
anybody's advice), and so, though Theodore took 
all the required studies and passed all .the 
examinations, he got no degree, — because he 
had never resided in Cambridge nor paid tuition 
fees. His college days were passed working 
on the farm and teaching school in North 
Lexington, Quincy and Waltham! Thus he 
reached the age of twenty-one. Then (March 
23, 1831) the Lexington home life came defini- 
tively to an end by his acceptance of a 
position as teacher of a private school in 


Writing Dr. Howe in 1860 he describes 
vividly his early experience in the city he was 
to help make famous. ^ "A raw boy with clothes 
made by country tailors, coarse shoes, great 
hands, red lips, and blue eyes, I went to serve 
in a private school, where for fifteen dollars a 
month and my board I taught Latin, Greek, 
subsequently French (!) and mathematics and 
all sorts of philosophy. ... I taught in the 
school six hours a day and from May to Sep- 
tember seven; but I had always from ten to 
twelve hours a day for my own private studies 
out of school. . . . Judge if I did not work: 
it makes my flesh creep to think how I used to 
work, and how much I learned that year and 
the four next. . . . Oh, that I had known the 
art of life, or found some man to tell me how 
to live, to study, to take exercise. . . . But I 
found none, and so here I am." John White 
Chadwick, who has written an admirable life 
of Theodore Parker, calls attention to the self- 
conscious note in this. The lad from Lexington 
seems, indeed, to have been an introspective 
person and one who, though gay, was not very 
happy. Very likely this was due to the hard- 
ships he had endured and to his loneliness 

* Culture then came cheap in Boston. In the papers for that 
year may be found the advertisements for the Boston Lyceum 
course of lectures, held Thursday evenings at 7 in the Masonic 
Temple. The price for 22 lectures was $2 (minors under eighteen 
$1). Rev. Lyman Beecher was the first speaker in the series. 


during those early formative years in Boston. 
All through his life he studied too 'hard and too 
late. During that first Boston year he read all of 
Homer and much of Xenophon, Demosthenes, 
and iEschylus, studied German and French 
until he could write as well as read those lan- 
guages, and made decided progress, at the same 
time, in mathematics and philosophy! No 
wonder he shuddered at remembering all this 
when, in what should have been his prime, he 
was dying as a result of it. 

The next year young Parker branched out and 
opened a school of his own in Watertown. 
Here he made friends; came into contact with 
John Weiss and so with the Transcendental 
school of thought; was elected superintendent 
of the Sunday School — and became engaged. 
At the end of the second year at Watertown his 
teaching ended and (in April, 1834) he entered 
the Divinity School at Cambridge for the last 
term of the junior year. He had saved the two 
hundred dollars which would put him through 
this experience and so he settled down with high 
courage in his snuggery at 29 Divinity Hall, the 
front corner room towards the college buildings 
and on the upper floor. His extraordinary 
command of " foreign tongues " served him 
well at this stage, for, besides tutoring lads in 
Greek and German, he was able to earn con- 
siderable money translating Lafayette's letters 


for Jared Sparks, who was then at work on his 
Life of Washington. Theologically Parker was 
quite sound all this time, as we see from the 
" creed " which he outlined in response to the 
request of his nephew, Columbus Greene. One 
sentence in this runs, " I believe that Christ 
was the son of God, conceived and born in a 
miraculous manner, that .he came to preach a 
better religion by which man may be saved." 
Chadwick, who should know, declares that this 
creed of Parker's — from which I have quoted 
only one sentence, — was " a neat and com- 
fortable statement of the conservative Uni- 
tarianism of the time." 

Yet, when the young " theologue " was ready 
to go. forth from the Divinity School we find 
him writing: " What an immense change has 
taken place in my opinions and feelings upon 
all the main points of inquiry since I entered 
this place! " His theology was now, indeed, 
so liberal that he found it rather hard work to 
get a pulpit. His preaching made everywhere 
a good impression, but since it was rumored 
that he was a " Transcendentalist," a tag as 
bewildering to the average intelligence in his 
time as in ours, committees acting upon candi- 
dates were inclined to go slow. For Emerson 
was a " Transcendentalist " and he had just 
resigned his charge in Boston because he could 
not conscientiously administer the Lord's Sup- 


per. Finally, however, the young parson was 
called to the Spring Street Society at West 
Roxbury, where he had preached acceptably 
several times, at a salary of $600. Thus a nine 
years' ministry of deep and far-reaching import 

Just before this Parker had been .married 
(April 20, 1837) to the Lydia Cabot who had 
been a teacher in the Watertown Sunday-School 
when he was superintendent, and the two set 
up housekeeping in a little white house a mile 
distant from the church. Their garden plot 
adjoined the extensive grounds of George R. 
Russell, a notable parishioner and friend, and 
was only slightly removed from the estate of 
Francis Gould Shaw, father of the heroic 
Robert Gould Shaw. So they were very nobly 
neighbored, these two. 

During his first year in Roxbury, Parker's 
sermons were simple and practical. He had 
resolved to " preach nothing as religion " which 
he had not " experienced inwardly and made my 
own knowing it by heart." Once he devoted the 
Sunday morning period to a discourse on " The 
Temptations of Milkmen! " Of these early 
efforts he says himself, " The simple life of the 
farmers, mechanics and milkmen about me, 
of its own accord turned into a sort of poetry 
and reappeared in the sermons, as the green 
woods not far oflf looked into the windows of 



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tt St 

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the meeting-house." That his sermons should 
have been thus simple in style is greatly to the 
man's credit inasmuch as he was already the 
master of twenty languages and of much of the 
literature in which these twenty are employed. 
This, too, in an age when German dictionaries 
were so rare that Parker once walked from 
Watertown to Professor Ticknor's in Boston 
to consult one. An ordinary day with this 
prodigious student, — before his marriage, — 
has been described thus, " Rising at seven, 
before the midday meal he read the books of 
Esther, Nehemiah, Solomon's Song, first twelve 
chapters of Isaiah; wrote part of a sermon; 
finished one hundred and fifty pages of Allan's 
Life of Scott and two of Herder's Briefe. 
After dinner read in a desultory manner; 
walked two or three miles; found a queer plant; 
gathered chestnuts; geologized a little; went 
to ride . . . took tea " and reluctantly devoted 
the evening to social intercourse. 

Obviously this man greatly needed a wife 
who should curb his terrifying devotion to 
books. Mrs. Parker was of quite different 
fibre from most of the women we have been 
encountering in these pages, for she was not 
at all intellectual. She could not share in the 
least her husband's passion for books and it was 
not until his humanitarianism developed that 
they found a field of common interest. But she 


satisfied at first and always the man's ardently 
affectionate nature. Early in the Roxbury 
years, while she was absent on a visit, we find 
this entry in his journal, " At home nominally; 
but since wife is gone my home is in New Jersey. 
I miss her absence — wicked woman ! — most 
exceedingly. I cannot sleep or eat or work 
without her. It is not so much the affection 
she bestows on me as that she receives by 
which I am blessed. I want someone always 
in the arms of my heart to caress and comfort. 
... I can do nothing without Lydia — not 
even read." 

It is pleasant to realize that Parker, who was 
soon to be branded as a heretic and carefully 
avoided as such by almost all of his fellow- 
clergy, had" always at hand the love and the 
sympathy of this Lydia who satisfied his hungry 
heart. As he approached his thirtieth year 
there began to be many and unmistakable signs 
that he would not be acceptable to the other 
Unitarians of his day. In 1840 he and his 
Brook Farm neighbor, George Ripley, walked 
thirty miles to attend a Groton convention of 
" come outers " and he made a speech indicting 
sectarianism and pleading for religious unity and 
" the Christianity of Christ." That same year 
he records in his journal the fact that he has 
repeatedly solicited an exchange with this, that 
and the other clergyman, but in vain. 


On May 19, 1841, however, he did have an 
opportunity to preach in another minister's 
pulpit and he gave an address which has become 
historic. The place was the South Boston 
Unitarian Church and the occasion the installa- 
tion of Rev. Charles C. Shackford. The sermon 
was an impassioned assertion of the permanence 
and value of Christianity as embodied in the 
teachings of Jesus, that " pure ideal religion 
which Jesus saw on the mount of his vision, 
and lived out in the lowly life of a Galilean 
peasant." Yet in the same sermon Jesus was 
said to have founded no institutions, the 
preacher vigorously maintaining that "if it 
could be proved that Jesus of Nazareth had 
never lived, still Christianity would stand firm 
and fear no evil." 

The chief offence of the sermon seems to 
have been Parker's denial that belief in the 
miracles is essential to the support of Chris- 
tianity. Andrews Norton had recently been 
contending (in The Latest Form of Infidelity) 
" that no man is a Christian who does 
not believe in the Christian truth because of 
some miraculous affirmation." To this Parker 
replied, by implication, that to believe in 
Christian truth only as miraculously attested 
was to do it a great irreverence. Now this was 
" heresy " and the man promoting it must be 
ostracized. Mrs. Cheney in her Reminis- 


cences tells an amusing story which indicates 
the feeling which prevailed in regard to Parker 
and his South Boston sermon. Miss Cornelia 
Walter, long editorial director of the Boston 
Transcript in the place of her brother Lynda 
Walter, who had broken down in health, was 
reading the sermon aloud to her invalid when 
her mother, a sweet old lady, came into the 
room. " Whose sermon is that.f* " she asked. 
" It is by a Mr. Parker," answered her daughter. 
The name, then unfamiliar, suggested nothing 
to the questioner, so she inquired, " To what 
sect does he belong? " Not wishing to shock her, 
her daughter replied, " I think they call him a 
Spiritualist." " I should think so," was the 
old lady's comment, " for it is the most spiritual 
thing I ever heard." Yet when she learned 
what sermon it was she had been led to praise 
she was very indignant. 

The ministers in the South Boston Church 
that morning the sermon was delivered appear 
to have been very like Mrs. Walter in their 
attitude towards it. All the hue and cry about 
its heresy came after the event and in response 
to the demand of an ultra-orthodox parson 
who demanded Parker's arrest for heresy. 
Whereupon a Unitarian layman wrote in the 
Boston Courier, " I would rather see every 
Unitarian congregation in our land dissolved 
and every one of our churches occupied by 


other denominations or razed to the ground 
than to assist in placing a man entertaining 
the sentiments of Theodore Parker in one of 
our pulpits." This was so general a sentiment 
that exchanges for which Parker had arranged 
were cancelled and those solicited were refused 
until, by the beginning of the year 1843, gather- 
ings of Unitarian ministers were asking this 
very particular question in regard to him, 
" Can a believer in Christianity who rejects 
the miracles or does not believe because of them 
be considered a Christian? " 

Happily, the West Roxbury people, who could 
have turned Parker out of his parish, declined 
to persecute as a heretic their greatly beloved 
pastor. Instead, they made their faith in him 
and their affection for him clearer than ever 
and granted him the year's leave of absence he 
desired in order that he have in Europe the 
much-needed rest for which a kind friend had 
furnished the means. It was during this trip 
abroad that Parker called, in Berlin, on Bettine 
von Arnim, whose friendship with Goethe had 
made glorious her long- vanished girlhood. 

He was not even shocked when Bettine told 
him that she prayed to Jupiter and that, in her 
opinion, Christ the person had done more harm 
to the world than any other man. " I found, 
however, that for the man Jesus of Nazareth 
and for all the great doctrines of religion she had 


the profoundest respect," Parker writes, and he 
adds simply, " I told her there was, to my 
thinking, but one religion, — that was being 
good and doing good." 

Boston greatly needed a strong man who 
should preach this religion and a little group 
who so believed resolved " that Theodore Par- 
ker should be heard." Accordingly, soon after 
his- return from Europe he began that series 
of Sunday morning sermons in the Melodeon 
(later the Bijou Theatre) which continued for 
seven years or until the Twenty Eighth Con- 
gregational Society of Worship, popularly known 
as " the Twenty Eighth," secured the larger 
quarters at Music Hall with which Parker's 
fame is indissolubly linked. 

The first Sunday in Boston was cold, dark and 
rainy with the streets full of slush and a de- 
pressing air of gloom everywhere. But the 
hall was crowded, for lovers of truth had flocked 
in from the suburban towns and from all 
parts of Boston to hear what this " heretic " 
should have to say. Ere long there were 
7000 ( !) names on the parish register and to this 
multitude Parker aspired to be as much a 
pastor as he had been to the sixty families 
in his Roxbury church. For more than a year, 
too, he continued to keep up the Roxbury 

Glad as he was to be preaching in Boston 


there were many things in^his new environment 
that jarred upon Parker. He had the New 
England minister's love for the homely decencies 
of worship and his new flock's habit of reading 
their newspapers while waiting for the service 
to begin accorded ill with his inherited church 
traditions. The place, too, was dingy and 
unattractive. In the last sermon given there 
we get a picture of it as it appeared to Parker: 
" We must bid farewell to these old walls. They 
have not been very comfortable. All the 
elements have been hostile. The winter's cold 
has chilled us; the summer's heat has burned 
us; the air has been poisoned with contamina- 
tions, a whole week long in collecting; and the 
element of earth, the dirt, that was everywhere. 
As I have stood here, I have often seen the 
spangles of opera dancers, who beguiled the 
previous night, lying on the floor beside me. 
. . . Dancing monkeys and ' Ethiopian sere- 
naders ' making vulgar merriment out of the 
ignorance and wretchedness of the American 
slave have occupied this spot during the week 
and left their marks, their instruments and 
their breath behind them on Sunday." 

This passage is significant for its reflection 
of Parker's tremendous sympathy with the 
slave and his interest in the movement which 
was struggling to set him free. In the same 
year with his South Boston sermon he had 


preached for the first time on the Great Ameri- 
can Evil, but his most important early contri- 
bution to the anti-slavery cause was not a 
sermon at all but a " Letter to the People of 
The United States Touching the Matter of 
Slavery." This document (dated December 
22, 1847) is a masterly presentation of the case 
against Slavery. Ten pages are given to the 
history of slavery, eight to the condition and 
treatment of slaves, ten to the effects on in- 
dustry, two to effects on population, ten to 
effects on education, fifteen to effects on law and 
politics and five to " Slavery Considered as a 
Wrong." Though dignified and dispassionate 
the thing is simply overwhelming in its presen- 
tation of facts and figures. The closing para- 
graph of the " Letter " well illustrates Parker's 
forceful style. 

" Across the Stage of Time the nations pass 
in the solemn pomp of their historical proces- 
sion. What kingly forms sweep by, leading 
the peoples of the past, the present age! Let 
them pass — their mingled good and ill. A 
great People now comes forth, the newest 
born of nations, the latest Hope of Mankind, 
the Heir of sixty centuries, — the Bridegroom 
of the virgin West. First come those Pilgrims, 
few and far between, who knelt on the sands of 
a wilderness. . . . Then comes the One with 
venerable face, who ruled alike the Senate and 


the Camp, and at whose feet the attendant 
years spread garlands and laurel wreaths caUing 
him First in War and First in Peace and First 
in his Country's Heart, as it is in his. Then 
follow men bearing the first fruits of our toil, 
the wealth of sea and land, the labors of the 
loom, the stores of commerce and the arts. 
A happy People comes, some with shut Bibles 
in their hands, some with the nation's laws, 
some uttering those mighty Truths which God 
has writ on Man and men have copied into 
golden words. Then comes to close this long 
historic pomp — the panorama of the world — 
the Negro Slave, bought, bonded, beat." 

Parker could occasionally be very effective 
as a satirist. In his " Anti-Slavery " Scrap 
Book (now in the Boston Public Library) 
may be found " Another Chapter in the Book 
of Daniel," written for the New York Tribune 
apropos of the capture of Shadrach. The 
bitter allusions to Webster make this lampoon 
very interesting. " Now it came to pass in 
the latter days that Daniel was King over all 
the children of Jonathan, which had waxed 
many and fat in the land. And by reasons 
which the prophet detaileth not Daniel's head 
was turned and he went after the strange 
gods. ..." Then comes an account of 
Daniel's gradual surrender to these gods of the 
" Southemites " followed by several very telling 


paragraphs about " the great city of the North- 
ernites which heth to the eastward on the sea 
shore, as thou goest down to the old country 
and it is called Boston. . . . 

" And in that city there was a street called 
Milk, peradventure because it is the dwelling 
place of so many of the babes and sucklings 
of commerce. And also another called State, 
wherein be the priests' offices, and the temples 
of their chief gods. 

" For in that city they did worship many 
strange gods, whereof the chief was called 
Money, an idol whose head was of fine gold, 
the belly of silver and legs of copper; but second 
thereto was another notable idol called Cotton. 

" Unto this latter they did sacrifice, and built 
him high places and factories, by the brooks 
that run among the hills, and bowed down and 
worshipped him saying. Cotton, help us ! Cot- 
ton, help us! . . . 

" Then they held a meeting and cried out, 
' Great is Cotton of the Bostonians; there is 
no God but Money, no Lord but Cotton; no 
King but Daniel; nothing better than Riches; 
and no Justice but only the laws of Daniel.' 
Then said they, we be a great people." After 
which comes a description of the capture of 
Shadrach, " a servant in an inn " whom they 
" took away from his frying pans and his 
skillets and his ovens and his gridirons and 


his spits " but whom, none the less, the Lord 
dehvered. Whereupon 

" The Worshippers of Money and of Cotton 
fell down on their faces and wept sore, and they 
said, Alas for us, the Lord has triumphed and 
Cotton has fallen down! Lo Daniel will hate 
us, and will make a proclamation and send a 
message and the Southernites will be upon us 
and take away our hope of a tariff. We will 
be all dead men! And their hearts became as 
a dog's heart when he barketh, but knoweth 
not whom he may bite." 

Parker's later service to the anti-slavery 
cause came largely in his sermons. Every event 
bearing on this great topic was " improved " 
by him. Thus his enormous following heard 
the annexation of Texas, the rendition of 
fugitive slaves, the war with Mexico and every 
related event discussed with the fiery ardor 
which marked his pulpit style. At Faneuil Hall 
and on the lecture platform throughout the 
Free States he was frequently heard in the same 
cause. Unlike Garrison and Phillips he de- 
fended the Union as the instrument by which 
slavery would be abolished, thus showing his 
clear vision. He differed from Garrison, also, 
in his estimate of the negro character. Chad- 
wick says: " Edward Everett had a more 
favorable opinion of it. Emerson's was more 
genial and more just. Parker's estimate of 


the negro, intellectually and morally, was low. 
He exaggerated the sensuality of the negro 
as he did that of the Jew, whom he placed 
only a little higher in this respect. Moreover, 
the negro had for him a certain physical re- 
pulsion. But his humanity easily absorbed the 
instinctive repulsion and the theoretic doubts. 
He could see no human creature wronged and 
not feel the pain in his own side. The limita- 
tions of the negro, as he conceived them, were 
not reasons for degrading him. They were 
appeals to his benevolence and were responded 
to as such." 

Half the leaves in the Scrap-Book already 
referred to (and called by Parker " Memoranda 
of the Troubles Occasioned by the Infamous 
Fugitive Slave Law from March 15, 1851, to 
February 19, 1856 ") are devoted to posters 
warning the fugitives of danger and summoning 
their friends to the rescue; and many of these 
bear unmistakably the mark of Parker's hand. 
In William and Ellen Craft, of which one sees 
repeated mention, he was especially interested, 
marrying them at a colored boarding-house in 
Boston, — and usiijg a Bible and a bowie knife 
in the place of the usual symbols! These two 
defences happened to be lying on a table and 
Parker put them into the husband's hands, 
telling him to use the one for his soul and the 
other for his body's safety. When the kid- 


nappers were in hot pursuit of Ellen Craft 
she was sheltered in his house, and after her 
marriage Parker started the pair oflf to England 
armed with a letter commending them to 
James Martineau's parochial care. Occasional 
communications from the Crafts may be found 
in late numbers of the Ldberator. 

The year 1852 in Parker's life is marked by 
two events of note: his Webster funeral oration* 
and his removal to Music Hall. The former 
antedates the latter by three weeks and this 
is rather a pity since we may not ascribe to 
the more dignified background such a sentence 
as this, in which the complicity of the North 
with Slavery is described: " Slavery the most 
hideous snake which Southern regions breed, 
with fifteen unequal feet came crawling North; 
fold on fold, and ring on ring, and coil on coil 
the venomed monster came: then Avarice, 
the foulest worm which Northern cities gender 
in their heat, went crawling South; with many 
a wriggling curl it wound along its way. At 
length they met and twisting up in their obscene 
embrace, the twain became one monster." An 
extraordinary funeral oration this and unspeak- 
ably bitter in its reproaches of certain public 
acts of Webster ! Yet it is generally conceded to 
be, in its tenderer passages, as fair an estimate 
of Webster's private character as any essay 
or oration of which he is the subject. 


Parker's first sermon in Music Hall was 
preached November 21, 1852, on " The Position 
and Duty of a Minister." Therein he told his 
people with his usual directness and simplicity 
that he had " great faith in preaching; faith 
that a religious sentiment, a religious idea 
will revolutionize the world to beauty, holiness, 
peace and love." On this occasion, as on many 
'a subsequent one, this immense hall, then brand 
new, was crowded to the doors, 1500 people in 
the chairs on the main floor, 700 in the two 
narrow galleries or balconies and a few hundred 
more standing or overflowing upon the stage 
where a kind of body guard of Parker's personal 
friends usually sat, a little withdrawn from the 
central figure who dominated the whole. The 
crowd was promiscuous and there was no 
collection and no " sittings," the expenses 
being met by voluntary contributions from an 
inner circle of devoted friends. The service 
was very plain: Bible reading with anything 
omitted which offended the minister's moral 
sense and hymns sung by the choir from what 
Parker was wont to call " The Sam Book " — 
because it was compiled by Samuel Johnson 
and Samuel Longfellow. The sermon, read 
from manuscript, was accompanied by no 
graces either of manner or of delivery. But 
the preacher had lived and thought and felt 
and read deeply, and his strong simple sinewy 

Copyright, 1901, By A. H. Rickarcls. 

copyright, ISOO, ty A. H. Rickarcls. 
Page 216. 






words went straight to the inteUigence of his 
hearers, of whom more than one went away to 
say, like a certain plain man whose comment 
has come down to us, " Is that Theodore Par- 
ker? You told me he was remarkable but I 
understood every word he said." 

There were prayers, too, at this " church," 
" talks with God " which heartened all who 
heard them, so simply beautiful were they. 
Louisa Alcott first heard Parker when he was 
preaching to " laborious young women " and 
the sermon helped her and inspired her. Yet 
her most appreciative word is for the prayer, 
" unlike any I had ever heard; not cold and 
formal as if uttered from a sense of duty, not 
a display of eloquence nor an impious directing 
of Deity in his duties towards humanity. It 
was a quiet talk with God, as if long intercourse 
and much love had made it natural and easy 
for the son to seek the Father . , . and the 
phrase, ' Our Father and our Mother God ' 
was inexpressibly sweet and beautiful, seeming 
to invoke both power and love to sustain the 
anxious overburdened hearts of those who 
listened and went away to labor and to wait 
with fresh hope and faith." 

Parker was very happy at Music Hall and 
he gave himself more devotedly than ever to 
his Sunday preaching. Sometimes his sermons 
were roughly blocked out four years in advance! 


And the crowds continued to come gladly be- 
cause, as Lowell puts it in his Fable for Critics, 

" Every word that he speaks has been fierily furnaced 
In the blast of a hfe that has struggled in earnest : . . . 
You forget the man wholly, you're so thankful to meet 
With a preacher who smacks of the field and the street." 

Nothing that is a part of human life seemed 
to Parker beyond the pale as pulpit matter. 
Like Whitman he believed in the excellence of 
the human body; his sympathy with Mother 
Nature in her manifold aspects was likewise 
akin to Whitman's. And often he would preach 
of these things, exalting as part of the God- 
given scheme man's passional nature and all 
that marriage should mean to the young people 
who, sat at his feet. " A real happy marriage of 
love and judgment between a noble man and 
woman is one of the things so very handsome," 
he once said in a sermon, " that if the sun were, 
as the Greeks fabled, a god, he might stop the 
world and hold it still now and then in order 
to look all day long on some example thereof 
and feast his eyes on such a spectacle." Yet, 
when all is said, the strength of Parker's preach- 
ing lay chiefly in the fact that he was the 
exalter of righteousness. It was in this, of 
course, that the poignant appeal of his anti- 
slavery sermons lay. 

Such a man as Parker, with a strong grasp 
on the homely verities, with profound scholar- 


ship, — which he yet knew how to adapt to 
a popular audience, — and with an impeUing 
ethical ideal would be sure of a warm welcome 
on the hospitable lyceum platform of the day. 
During the winter following his return from 
Europe he lectured forty times and from that 
time on an ordinary year with him ranged 
anywhere from fifty lectures to ninety-eight, 
his record. When the comparatively slow means 
of transportation is taken into account and the 
fact recalled that he almost always preached 
in his own pulpit on Sunday it will be seen 
that this represents enormous activity. More- 
over, he was a voluminous correspondent, 
writing exhaustive letters with his own hand 
to scholars who wanted criticism, students 
who wanted suggestions, common folk who 
wanted advice and friends who wanted — him. 
In the biographies of celebrities of this period 
one encounters scores of these letters. One 
which I have just happened to see in a " Life " 
of Parkman embodies long and careful criticism 
of the most stimulating kind of The Con- 
spiracy of Pontiac which had just been 
published. And this was only one of a thousand 
such letters written by Parker that year in 
the scant leisure left after his many other more 
pressing duties were performed! 

Partly because it gives a good picture of 
Parker at work and partly because of its in- 


teresting observations on the Lyceum as an 
institution I want to quote here from a letter 
once sent to his friend, Miss Sarah Hunt, 
while en tour: " The business of lecturing is 
an original American contrivance for educating 
the people. The world has nothing like it. 
In it are combined the best things of the Church, 
i. e., the preaching, and of the College, i. e., 
the informing thought, with some of the fun 
of the Theatre. . . . But none know the hard- 
ships of the lecturer's life. ... In one of the 

awful nights in winter I went to lecture at 

It was half charity. I gave up the Anti-Slavery 
Festival, rode fifty-six miles in the cars, leaving 
Boston at half-past four o'clock and reaching 
the end of the railroad at half -past six — drove 
seven miles in a sleigh, and reached the house 

of who had engaged [me] to come. It was 

time; I lectured one hour and three-quarters 
and returned to the house. Was offered no 
supper before the lecture, and none after, till 
the sleigh came to the door to take me back 
again to the railroad station seven miles oflF 
[near which] I was to pass the night and take 
the cars at half-past six the next morning. 

" Luckily, I always carry a few little creature 
comforts in my wallet. I ate a seed-cake or 
two and a fig with lumps of sugar. We reached 
a tavern at eleven, could get nothing to eat 
at that hour, and as it was a temperance house 


not a glass of ale which is a good night-cap. 
It took three-quarters of an hour to thaw out : — 
went to bed in a cold room, was called up at 
five, had what is universal — a tough steak, 
sour bread, potatoes swimming in fat, — wanted 
me to deduct from my poor fifteen dollars the 
expenses of my nocturnal ride, but I ' could not 
make the change.' " Usually Parker's fee for 
lecturing (after he had reached his full intel- 
lectual stature, that is) was " F. A. M. E., i. e.. 
Fifty And My Expenses." Thus he was able 
to buy himself more and more books and to 
cut down voluntarily his salary at Music Hall. 
Very reluctantly he now (1847) gscve up his 
white cottage in West Roxbury and made his 
home in Exeter Place, his house there touching 
gardens with that of Wendell Phillips. Phillips 
records that often, as he looked from his own 
chamber window late at night, when some 
lecture engagement had kept him out until 
the " wee sma' hours," he would see in Parker's 
study the unquenched light which meant that 
the insatiable student was still hard at work. 
These night vigils ere long were to cost the 
man his life. By the time he was forty -three 
Parker had warnings that he was not to live 
to be an old man, and three years later, while 
lecturing in New Bedford, sight, hearing and 
speech suddenly gave out. Yet after taking a 
glass cf sherry at a nearby drug-shop he was 


able to return and finish his lecture. He 
would not allow himself, indeed, the luxury 
of being ill, and the result was that, in January, 
1859, he was told that the consumption which 
he knew to be a family tendency, had obtained 
such a hold upon him that there was only one 
chance in ten of his recovery. In pursuit of 
this chiance he spent a year in Italy and there, 
in Florence, he died May 10, 1860. Among 
his last words were, " There are two Theodore 
Parkers now: one is dying here in Italy; the 
other I have planted in America." Neither are 
forgotten. For pilgrimages are constantly being 
made to his grave in the Protestant cemetery at 
Florence and, every year, his moral beauty be- 
comes more and more revered in the America for 
which he did so much. 


boston's share in the irrepressible conflict 

IT was William H. Seward who, in a speech 
delivered October 25, 1858, spoke of the 
long fight which he saw coming as " an 
irrepressible conflict between opposing and en- 
during forces." He meant the force that 
believed in slaveholding and the force that 
did not, but there were those — and they 
included Wendell Phillips — who gave his 
phrase a larger interpretation. Phillips saw 
that the war was really a contention as to 
whether Aristocracy or Democracy should rule 
in America and, being the man he was, he 
exulted over the impending struggle. Franklin 
Sargent, who as the son of Rev. John Sargent 
and Mrs. Sargent of the Radical Club, had rare 
opportunities in his youth to know the great 
men and women of Boston in its romantic era, 
has recently characterized Wendell Phillips to 
me as " a handsome aristocrat turned plebeian 
from principle." And T. W. Higginson, who 
also knew Phillips well, has told me that the 
great orator was never more aristocratic in 


aspect than when walking through the streets 
of his own Boston with an ugly mob howling 
at his heels; yet this was the man who five 
days after the attack on Fort Sumter was 
giving war a warm welcome in Boston Music 
Hall, saying, " I rejoice for the first time in my 
anti-slavery life; I stand under the stars and 
stripes ^ and welcome the tread of Massa- 
chusetts men." 

The spirit in which Phillips said these words 
and had all his life been calling out to the 
young people with whom he came in contact, 
" Throw yourself upon the altar of some noble 
cause! To rise in the morning only to eat and 
drink and gather gold — that is a life not worth 
living," is the spirit of '61 in Boston. The 
noble youth of the time welcomed with out- 
stretched arms the possibility of doing something 
to show their love of the Union. The sense of 
romantic possibilities near at hand made them 
feel, to quote Higginson again, " as if one had 
learned to swim in air and were striking out 
for some new planet." 

Even Emerson was caught up in the whirl 
of enthusiasm. While John Brown lay in 
prison awaiting execution a meeting was held 

' Cf. the lines in John Boyle O'Reilly's poem on Phillips (written 
after his death February 2, 1884) : 

" A sower of infinite seed was he, a woodman that hewed to the light, 
Who dared to be traitor to Union when the Union was traitor to 
Rightl " 


in Boston to raise funds for the relief of his 
impoverished family, and Emerson, no less than 
Phillips, was on hand. John A. Andrew pre- 
sided, and it was on this occasion that Rev. 
J. M. Manning of the Old South Church 
declared, " I am here to represent the church 
of Sam Adams and Wendell Phillips; and I 
want all the world to know that I am not 
afraid to ride in the coach when Wendell 
Phillips sits on the box." Many a man became 
similarly outspoken about his personal con- 
viction now that the moment for such demon- 
stration had arrived. Woodbury says that 
throughout the war Emerson was deeply moved 
in his patriotic feelings and rejoiced in it not 
only as a cause of civilization but for its rein- 
vigoration of the spirit of the people. " The 
effect of it upon his own thought was remark- 
able," he adds. " The anti-social and anar- 
chistic sentiments which were to be plentifully 
found in his writings before this time cease; 
and in their place there is a powerful grasp of 
the social unities embodied in the state as a 
main source of the blessings of civilization." 

On the stone erected on Soldiers' Field, Cam- 
bridge, — an athletic ground given to Harvard 
University by Henry L. Higginson to the 
memory of James Savage, Jr., Charles Russell 
Lowell, Edward Barry Dalton, Stephen George 
Perkins, James Jackson Lowell and Robert 


Gould Shaw, all of whom died for their country, 
— is this quatrain of Emerson's : 

" Though love repine, and reason chafe, 
There came a voice without reply, — 
'Tis man's perdition to be safe. 
When for the truth he ought to die." 

This high call to sacrifice was never more 
courageously answered than in the case of the 
Boston men who enlisted for the Civil War. 
The very morning of the attack upon Sumter 
forces began to rally and individuals came 
forward with offers of all kinds of help. The 
Hon. William Gray immediately sent $10,000 
to the State House, and the banks of Boston 
offered to lend the State $3,000,000 in advance 
of legislative action. Physicians and lawyers 
volunteered to take charge gratuitously of the 
families of men who went to war, and the organ 
of the Democrats, whose sympathies had long 
been with the South rather than with the North, 
advised the postponement of all other issues 
until " this self -preserving issue is settled." 
The total amount of money expended by the 
city, exclusive of State aid, is set down at a 
little over $2,500,000. 

Yet money was the smallest part of what 
Boston gave to this war. Twenty-six thousand 
one hundred and seventy-five men out of a 
population of about 178,000," meant a much 
larger share of the city's wealth than its financial 


contribution represented. Moreover, the work 
done for the Northern army by those two noble 
Boston women Dorothea Dix and Mrs. Harrison 
Gray Otis cannot in any way be estimated. Of 
Mrs. Otis I shall be speaking at some length 
in a later chapter, so let us here take brief 
account of Dorothea Lynde Dix's unique work. 
As a young woman Dorothea Dix had main- 
tained at the home of her grandmother in what 
is now Dix Place, Boston, one of those famous 
girls' schools which in the early part of the nine- 
teenth century, did so much for the character 
of sensitive young women. Too much, indeed, 
for this school had a kind of Protestant version 
of the Roman Catholic system of the confes- 
sional, — a shell post-office into which daily, if 
possible, letters were to be dropped recording 
the results of the searching introspection re- 
quired by the young schoolmistress and by her 
followed up. No wonder Miss Dix was a wreck 
at thirty-three as a result of such strenuousness. 
Yet it was during the ensuing visit to England, 
for the recovery of her health, that the horrible 
treatment then accorded the insane first came 
to this earnest woman's attention. Up to so 
late a date as 1770 Bethlehem Hospital in 
London, popularly known as " Old Bedlam," 
was regarded as the prime show in the city, 
superior even in the attractions it offered the 
pleasure seeker to a bull-baiting or a dog fight. 


Country cousins of the average citizen were 
taken for a hearty laugh to Bedlam to see the 
madmen cursing, raving and fighting. The 
annual fees derived from this public entertain- 
ment amounted to several hundred pounds. A 
mad house was a menagerie — nothing more. 
Against the cruelties of the place Sydney Smith 
in the Edinburgh Review, 1815-1816, wrote: 
" Even in the new building the windows of the 
patients' bedrooms were not glazed nor were 
the latter warmed." 

Barbarous England.? Yes, but let us look 
nearer home and see what Miss Dix saw a 
whole quarter of a century later. One pleasant 
Sunday morning as she was coming out of Dr. 
Lowell's church after a fine sermon she over- 
heard two gentlemen speaking in such terms 
of indignation and horror of the treatment to 
which the prisoners and lunatics in the East 
Cambridge, Massachusetts, jail were subjected 
that she forthwith determined to go there and 
look into the matter herself. She had now 
returned from abroad comparatively well, and, 
through the will of her grandmother, had come 
into a sufficient competency to enable her to 
live comfortably and in a leisurely fashion. At 
this time it was her intention to enjoy a quiet 
ladylike life, devoting herself to literature and 
study and to the social intercourse which was 
always so delightful to her. 


The visit to Cambridge was the turning 
point of her life. She found among the prisoners 
a few insane persons with whom she talked. 
She noticed that there was no stove in their 
room, and no means of proper warmth. She 
saw at once that only by resorting to legal 
measures could this be righted, so, without 
delay, she caused the matter to be brought up 
before the court then in session. Her request 
was granted; the cold rooms were warmed. 

Thus was begun her great work, the work at 
which she labored steadily for the next twenty 
years, or until these abuses had been reformed 
in nearly all the States of the Union. 

When the War broke out, however, Dorothea 
Dix saw that the preservation of the Union 
must take precedence over everything else and 
within a week after the attack on Sumter 
she had offered herself and been accepted for 
free hospital service. Her commission from 
the Secretary of War declared her " Superin- 
tendent of Women Nurses, to select and assign 
women nurses to general or permanent military 
hospitals, they not to be employed in such 
hospitals without her sanction and approval 
except in cases of urgent need." Naturally, 
her twenty years' experience in conquering 
obstacles of every kind made her invaluable 
to the Surgeon-General. For she everywhere 
demanded efficiency and sentimentalism she 


simply would not have. Higginson, in his 
Cheerful Yesterdays, raises whimsical objection 
to Miss Dix's ruling that no woman under 
thirty need apply to serve in government hos- 
pitals and that all nurses should be plain- 
looking persons content to be garbed in brown 
or black " with no bows, no curls, or jewels, 
and no hoopskirts." Yet such prohibitions 
appear to have been needed. Hardly had the 
first shot been fired when scores of women, 
many of whom were obviously unfit for anyr 
thing useful, presented themselves at head- 
quarters saying, " We've come to nurse " and 
seeing no reason why they should not be as- 
signed work. 

Even before she had organized the nurses, 
however. Miss Dix rendered a signal service 
to the Union cause. She it was who revealed 
to the proper authorities a bit of Southern 
strategy which contemplated the seizing of 
Washington as the headquarters of the Con- 
federacy and the prevention of Lincoln's in- 
auguration. Miss Dix would never allow herself 
to be praised for this act nor would she accept 
the public demonstration for her services as 
superintendent of war nurses which Mr. Stanton 
wished to give her at the close of the war. 
Yet, now that she can no longer object, it 
seems a great pity that her unique services to 
humanity should not be adequately recognized. 


Let Congress put through with a rush that 
bill to appropriate $10,000 for a memorial to 
her with which they have been dallying for 
years ! 

Massachusetts was exceedingly fortunate in 
having as governor, when the war broke out, a 
man of the calibre of John A. Andrew. Com- 
mitted heart and soul to the anti-slavery cause 
Andrew was yet keen for the preservation of 
the Union, — and he strongly believed in the 
potentiality of the negro as a soldier. Through 
him it was that the Fifty -fourth Massachusetts 
Infantry, colored, of which Robert Gould Shaw 
was colonel, came into being. Not easily did 
he secure the consent of the War Department" 
to raise such a regiment and when he had got 
it he was a little at a loss where to turn for a 
commander. Then he lighted on Robert Gould 
Shaw, who at the time was an officer in the 
Second Massachusetts Infantry. At first the 
yoimg man refused the command, doubting 
his own capacity. But after he had been 
assured by his superior officer of his entire 
fitness for the task he telegraphed Governor 
Andrew his acceptance of the offer and wrote 
to his mother, " I feel convinced I shall never 
regret having taken this step, as far as I my- 
self am concerned, for while I was undecided 
I felt ashamed of myself, as if I were cowardly." 

The task of training this colored regiment was 


taken up by Colonel Shaw inFebruary,1863, and 
in three months his men were ready for service. 
On May second he was married to Miss Anna 
Haggerty and on May twenty-eighth the Fifty- 
fourth broke camp and came to Boston to take 
the steamer for South Carolina. Shaw was 
only twenty-six at this time, a handsome, well- 
made man with a fine complexion, blue eyes and 
golden hair. He must have been a striking 
figure as he marched with his black men and 
his white oflBcers, — among them Norwood ^ 
and Edward Hallowell, to salute Governor 
Andrew, standing on the State House steps 
directly opposite the present site of the beautiful 
St. Gaudens monument, which was erected 
to Shaw's memory by his friends in 1897. " I 
know not," said Governor Andrew as he handed 
the colors to the Fifty-fourth, " when, in all 
human history, to any thousand men in arms 
has there been given a work, so proud, so 
precious, so full of hope and glory, as the work 
committed to you." 

Shaw was immensely proud of his men and 
exceedingly anxious to " get them," as he wrote, 
" alongside of white troops and into a good 
fight if there is to be one." When the chance 
came to lead the attack on Fort Wagner, — 
July 18, 1863, — he seized it eagerly. But 

' To whom I am indebted for interesting and valuable materis^l 
{ibout Col. Shaw, 

Page 258. 

Copyright, IWi hi) N L Stebbins 


a '^ 

M a, « 
& So 

a . 

SI a 

S ^ 


almost immediately he fell dead on the parapet, 
in the midst of a terribly fierce fire in which no 
less than two hundred and fifty-five of his 
black soldiers were killed or wounded with 

Colonel Hallotvell has written very beautifully 
of the qualities of this man under whom he 
was proud to serve. " His clean-cut face, 
quick, decided step and singular charm of 
manner, full of grace and virtue, bespoke the 
hero. The immortal charge of his black regi- 
ment reads like a page of the Iliad or a story 
from Plutarch. I have always thought that 
in the great war with the slave power the figure 
that stands out in boldest relief is that of 
Colonel Shaw. There were many others as 
brave and devoted as he, — the humblest 
private who sleeps in yonder cemetery or fills 
an unknown grave in the South is as much 
entitled to our gratitude, — but to no others 
was given an equal opportunity. By the 
earnestness of his convictions, the unselfishness 
of his character, his championship of an en- 
slaved race, and the manner of his death, all 
the conditions are given to make Shaw the best 
historical exponent of the underlying cause, the 
real meaning of the war. He was the fair type 
of all that was brave, generous, beautiful and 
of all that was best worth fighting for in the 
war of the slaveholders' Rebellion," 


Yet when he died in the prime of his beautiful 
young manhood his body was stripped of all 
but underclothing, exposed for a time on the 
fort and finally buried in a trench with the 
negroes! Robert Gould Shaw of Boston was 
the only officer buried with the colored troops. 
Not that being side by side, in death as in life, 
with the men he had loved and trusted could 
have given Shaw anything but joy! It is for 
this reason that I like especially the wonderful 
St. Gaudens monument in which he and his 
negro followers make up an impressive and 
artistic unit. Each year on Memorial day the 
Robert Bell post of Grand Army men, all of 
whom are colored, hang wreaths of immortelles 
on the Shaw Memorial and it seems to me a 
particularly happy thing that they must thus 
honor at one and the same time their black 
brethren and the white hero who was their 

" I want to fling my leaf on dear Shaw's 
grave," wrote Lowell to Fields when preparing 
the poem " Memoriae Positum " in which the 
brave youth is so stirringly sung. Then he 
added, " I want the poem to be a little monu- 
mental." It is that. Especially the verse: 

" Brave, good and true, 
I see him stand before me now, 
And read again on that young brow. 
Where every hope was new, 


How sweet were life! Yet, by the mouth firm-set. 
And look made up for Duty's utmost debt, 

I could divine he knew 
That death within the sulphurous hostile lines. 
In the mere wreck of nobly-pitched designs. 

Plucks hearts-ease, and not rue." 

The Fifty-fifth infantry and the Fifth Cavalry 
were other Massachusetts regiments made up 
of black men, while all the soldiers in the black 
regiment of which Thomas Wentworth Hig- 
ginson of Cambridge was chosen colonel had 
been slaves. It was in this connection that the 
following " nonsense verse " began to be cir- 
culated in Boston: 

" There was a young curate of Worcester 
Who could have a command if he'd choose ter; 

But he said each recruit 

Must be blacker than soot 
Or else he'd go preach where he used ter." 

Higginson denies that this verse is a literal 
statement of the facts; but it is significant 
that the only title to which he clings, after 
a full and remarkably varied life, is that of 
colonel of the First South Carolina Volunteers. 

Through the suffering and the sacrifice en- 
tailed upon all classes by the Civil War the old 
differences between parties and clans in Boston 
were gradually forgotten. Much of the credit 
for this was due to John Albion Andrew, a 
man of imperturbable sweetness of temper, who, 


though just to all his opponents, was yet capable 
of immensely effective service in the cause he 
believed to be right. 

Andrew was one of those who believed that 
" John Brown himself was right." He stated 
very clearly, in 1859, that he sympathized with 
the man and sympathized with the idea because 
he sympathized with and believed in the Eternal 
Right. He made this declaration at a time that 
it took great courage to do so and he never 
retracted. Yet, the next year, he was chosen 
to be governor by a popular vote larger than 
had been received by any of his predecessors. 
Massachusetts' heart appears to have been in 
the right place after all! During the long and 
difficult interval when every governor was a 
war-minister John A. Andrew was of the 
greatest service to Lincoln. In many ways, 
indeed, his mind an4 that of the President 
worked alike. And, like Lincoln, he was always 
accessible, always gentle, kind and just. There 
is a story that, on one of the days when the 
pressure of details and decisions was simply 
tremendous he gave patient audience, at the 
State House, to a man who was setting forth the 
virtues of a patent knapsack and that he ended 
by having the bag packed and buckled on over 
his own shoulders that he might decide intelli- 
gently whether it would really be a good substi- 
tute for the regulation knapsack of the army. 


For five years John A. Andrew worked early 
and late as Massachusetts' chief executive, 
tasting, in that time, more cares and sorrows, 
hopes and joys and labors than most men 
would in four score years of ordinary life. He 
did not long survive the great strain of this 
period; it has been well said " no soldier 
struck by a rebel bullet on the battle-field 
died more truly a victim to the national cause 
than John A. Andrew." ^ So his life, also, must 
be counted among those offered up in Boston 
on the altar of " the irrepressible conflict." 

1 By Albert G. Brown, Jr., in his Sketch of the Official Life of 
John A. Andrew. 



WRITING in April, 1831, the Boston 
correspondent of the New York Mir- 
ror — whose lamentations over the 
Puritan city's paucity of histrionic attractions 
have been referred to in an earlier chapter — 
observes plaintively, " There is now but one 
theatre open." That theatre was the Tremont, 
on the site of the present Tremont Temple, 
and it had now been making its bid for public 
patronage for nearly two years, disparaging 
in every possible way, the while, the Federal 
Street theatre, its rival. In 1830 the latter 
was forced to capitulate. It then passed into 
the hands of the owners of the Tremont, who 
kept it closed, except for a brief season, until 

The performances at the Tremont began at 
seven o'clock and the best seats cost only one 
dollar. Yet several of the greatest artists of the 
nineteenth century made their appearance here, 
chief among them being Edwin Forrest, who 
here played " Hamlet " for the first time in 


Boston on November 15, 1828. Forrest was 
then only twenty-two (lie had been born in 
Philadelphia March 9, 1806) and he looked as 
well as acted the young Prince of Denmark. 
Moreover, he had not yet developed that 
brusqueness of manner under which he elected, 
in later years, to cloak what seems to have 
been a thoroughly kind heart and a real love 
of humanity. It was at the Tremont Theatre 
in 1828, also, that John Gibbs Gilbert, a resident 
of Boston's North End, made his debut. J. B. 
Booth was at this time manager and one night, 
when he was in the bill, there was enacted a 
sad scene which serves amply to establish the 
contention of those who claim that his son, 
who shot Lincoln, inherited insanity. Upon 
his first entrance on the stage, for the after-piece 
in which a comic part had been assigned him, 
it was observed that he was faltering in his 
delivery and that jumbled scraps from other 
plays were finding their way into the dialogue. 
Yet he managed somehow to get through two 
acts. In the early part of the third act, he 
suddenly dropped all pretense of carrying his 
part and fell into a colloquial chat with the 
King of Naples in the play. For a moment 
there was silence. Then, making a desperate 
effort to regain his self-control, the actor turned 
to the audience and said, " Ladies and gentle- 
men, I really don't know this part. I studied 


it only once before and against my inclination. 
I will read the part and the play shall go on. 
By your leave the play shall go on and Mr. 
Wilson shall read the part for me." Hisses 
greeted this suggestion. Meanwhile Booth, 
with a silly grin, which soqn broke into a mirth- 
less laugh, was being led into the wings, by a 
friend in the company, muttering as he went, 
" I can't read, — I am a charity boy; — I can't 
read. Take me to the Lunatic Hospital." In 
later years Booth appeared several times on 
the Boston stage, having, to all appearances, 
recovered entirely from this attack of insanity. 

In January, 1831, the celebrated Master 
Burke, announced as the " Irish Roscius," 
played an engagement of more than a month 
at the Tremont to houses that were most 
unusual for that time. " Balls and parties, sleigh 
rides and social gatherings were for the time 
dispensed with," says the record, " and the 
theatre was the centre of the fashionable and 
literary world of Boston. Burke opened as 
" Young Norval " but he played also Dr. 
Pangloss, Shylock, Richard III, Hamlet and 
Romeo, besides several parts whose names 
mean nothing to us of today. 

One very curious thing about the early 
theatrical history of Boston is the seriousness 
with which the public took the private pecca- 
dilloes of artists. Theatrical riots were of 


common occurrence. The most important one, 
since that connected with the appearance of 
Edmund Kean at the Federal Street Theatre,* 
came at the Tremont in 1831 when Mr. J. R. 
Anderson, an Enghsh singer, was hissed off 
the stage because he was beUeved to have 
spoken " disrespectfully of the American peo- 
ple." In those days this was an unpardonable 
sin and poor Anderson and his managers had 
a hard time of it notwithstanding the fact that 
they deluged the papers with letters and affi- 
davits asserting that he " never did it." 

The spring of 1833, at the Tremont, was 
marked by two very interesting events, a 
benefit given (April 3) to John Howard Payne 
by the citizens of Boston, after his absence 
for nearly twenty years from the scene of his 
early triumphs, and the first appearance in 
Boston, on Tuesday, April 16, of Miss Fanny 
Kemble. The Payne benefit was carried out 
by a committee of citizens appointed at a 
meeting held in the Tremont House and the 
pieces chosen for presentation consisted en- 
tirely of selections from various plays, written 
by him whom we now know only as the author 
of " Home, Sweet Home." Whether by reason 
of Miss Kemble's approaching season, or be- 
cause the plays Payne offered were all familiar 
ones, and the night selected was on the eve of 

1 See Old Boston Days and Ways, p. 456. 


Fast Day, — when it was the custom for Boston 
f amihes to unite in social gatherings, — whatever 
the reason may have been the fact remains 
that the receipts for the benefit were small. 
Yet the occasion was an impressive one. Park 
Benjamin wrote for it a poem celebrating the 
events of Payne's varied career which makes 
much better reading than most " efforts " of 
the kind, and the affair appropriately came 
to a close with the rendering of " Home, Sweet 
Home " by the orchestra followed by a speech 
from Payne himself. 

The season of Miss Kemble and her father 
was a pronounced triumph, the wealth and 
beauty of the city crowding the playhouse night 
after night to do honor to this lovely woman 
and charming actress. Though the Hamlet 
of Charles Kemble was much approved, it 
was when the two appeared together in " School 
For Scandal " or " Romeo and Juliet " that 
the enthusiasm of the audience reached its 
highest pitch. When they played their fall 
engagement at the Tremont, under the manage- 
ment of Thomas Barry, the admirable stage- 
manager who had just come over from the 
Park Theatre in New York to direct the destinies 
of Boston's leading theatre, the receipts were 
very large for that time: $11,671 in eighteen 
nights. Thomas Barry was then called the 
best stage-manager in America and he con- 


tinued to deserve tlie title, winning and holding 
universal respect not only among the members 
of his profession but also with the general public. 
His first move after coming to the Tremont was 
to put the theatre in complete repair at an 
expense of $5,000 which came out of his own 
pocket. Gas was then introduced into the 
house much to the satisfaction of the ladies, 
" many of whom," we read, " could trace a 
ruined dress to a visit to the theatre, owing 
to the dripping of the oil from the lamps." 

Charles H. Eaton, a Boston boy who became 
" the most capable, scholarly and polished 
American actor of his time," his untimely and 
tragic death (by a fall down a spiral staircase) 
bringing to a sad end what would undoubtedly 
have been a very brilliant career, played at 
the Tremont this same year. Then (in 1833) 
came Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Wood, whose appear- 
ance here in opera created almost as great an 
excitement as the coming of Jenny Lind. To 
us the Woods are interesting chiefly because it 
was with them that Charlotte Cushman, 
America's greatest tragic actress and the only 
Boston woman to attain international fame 
on the stage, made her debut. In those days 
Charlotte thought herself destined to be a 
great singer. It is interesting to note in passing 
that at this period she sang Lucy Bertram at 
the Tremont Theatre in a musical version of 


the play which was afterwards to afford her 
her master-role. 

The great event in the history of the Tremont 
Theatre was its connection with Fanny EUsler, 
the first theatrical celebrity of French birth 
ever to win the plaudits of conservative Bos- 
tonians. She made her initial appearance in 
Boston on the evening of September 7, 1840, 
and, almost immediately, became the talk of the 
town. Even Emerson, who with Margaret 
Fuller had gone to witness this unusual attrac- 
tion, seems to have been dazzled by the grace 
and charm of the lovely Fanny, for, as she was 
executing one of her inimitable pirouettes, 
balancing her supple body on the toe of her 
left foot while she extended her right one " to 
a dangerous not to say questionable height 
into space," he replied to Margaret's ecstatic 
whisper, "Ralph, this is poetry!" with a 
fervent, " Margaret, it is religion ! " The press 
notices of the time almost persuade one to 
accept these transcendental testimonies. " All 
that we had imagined," says one critic, " of 
poetry, of music, of sculpture, of refinement, 
elegance and beauty, were realized. The 
colors of the rainbow, the delicacy of the 
flowers, the purity of the crystal waters, have 
nothing more radiant, exquisite or transparent 
than the gossamer floatings of this glorious 
creature." If the following categorical descrip- 

^ •° a 

bH 9 M 

:s -s £ 

Page 273. 

Page 270. 


tion ^ of Miss EUsler's charms be just, she 
must certainly have been "glorious:" 

" La Fanny is tall, beautifully formed, with 
limbs that resemble those of the hunting Diana, 
combining strength with the most delicate and 
graceful style; her small and classically shaped 
head is placed on her shoulders in a singularly 
elegant manner; the pure fairness of her skin 
requires no artificial whiteness, while her eyes 
beam with a species of playful malice, well 
suited to the half-ironical expression at times 
visible in the corners of her finely curved lips; 
her rich glossy hair of bright chestnut hue is 
usually braided over a forehead formed to wear 
with equal grace and dignity the diadem of a 
queen or the floral wreath of a nymph." 

No wonder our ordinarily staid citizens walked 
before the Tremont House for hours in hopes 
that the divinity would show herself at the 
window! Articles of use and ornament, from 
bread and bootjacks to cuffs and brass buttons 
were named in her honor; and so great was her 
vogue that her help was gladly accepted by 
" society " in raising money for the granite 
shaft on Bunker Hill, then nearing completion. 
The wags of the day declared that Fanny had 
kicked the cap on the Monument. During her 
thirteen nights in Boston she earned $15,000 
by her dancing! 

1 In Beauties of the Opera and Ballet, 


A keen rival of the Tremont Theatre at this 
time was the National, brought into being by 
the same disgruntled actor, William Pelby, 
who had caused the Tremont to be started. 
For four years he called his venture, at the corner 
of Portland and Travers Streets, the Warren, 
but, in 1836, he reconstructed its interior and 
announced that its name would henceforth be 
the National. Here it was that Jean Daven- 
port made in 1838 the success which induced 
her father to lease the Lion Theatre, on the 
site of the present Bijou, for her. Miss Daven- 
port was at this time stated to be only " eleven 
years of age " and was justly regarded as an 
infant phenomenon, equal to Master Betty in 
the best days of that prodigy and surpassing 
the wonderful Burke to whom allusion has 
already been made. Why anyone should wish 
to see a mere child playing Richard and Shylock 
I cannot see, but that the desire to be thus 
entertained was keen there seems no doubt. 
Her ten performances in as many parts netted 
nearly sixteen hundred dollars for her fond 
father! The National burned in 1852 but was 
promptly rebuilt and for many years continued 
to draw large audiences. Its pieces were always 
well mounted and its prices reasonable. 

The Howard Athenaeum, once characterized ^ 
as an edifice " which has had an experience of 

' By Henry Austin Clapp. 


more variety than any other piece of masonry 
in the city of Boston," dates from 1845 and is 
still given over to amusement purposes. This 
place was built to be a temple of the Miller- 
ites, whose prophet, the venerable Father 
Miller, predicted with such persuasiveness, 

" The end of the world will surely be 
In Eighteen Hundred and Forty-three." 

that large numbers of his followers sold all their 
possessions preparatory to immediate departure 
for a land more blessed. When the day set 
apart for the closing up of all earthly affairs had 
however passed with no sign of being the Last 
Day Father Miller reviewed his calculations 
and discovered that he had been wrong in his 
arithmetic to the extent of a few thousand 
years. Whereupon the Millerites reluctantly 
consented to lease their former gathering-place 
to a group of men desirous of establishing 
another theatre in Boston. At the time of its 
opening (October 13, 1845) this new theatre 
had a regular stock company, which included 
James H. Hackett, afterwards the manager of 
the Howard. One feature of Hackett's acting 
was his originality. It is related that, on a 
certain occasion when he had been vociferously 
applauded for his work in Nimrod Wildfire, a 
piece that concludes with a dance in which the 
star kicks over a table spread with tea things. 


the gallery gods continued their applause out 
of all limits. Whereupon Hackett advanced 
to the footlights and said, " I should be most 
happy to repeat the dance, but I am out of 
breath, and what is worse, the manager is out 
of cups and saucers! " 

It was at the Howard Athenaeum on its 
opening night under Hackett's management 
(October 5, 1846) in a new building which 
replaced the wooden structure of the Millerites, 
that William Warren, whom we of today inevi- 
tably connect with the Boston Museum, made 
his first appearance in this city as Sir Lucius 
O'Trigger in " The Rivals." The crowning 
theatrical achievement of that season in this 
house was, however, the dancing of the Vien- 
noise Children; in opera the year is marked 
by the fact that here, for the first time in Boston, 
genuine Italian opera was presented, the vehicle 
being Verdi's " Ernani " and the stars Tedesco 
and Perilli. Before the theatre ceased, in 1868, 
to be the home of " the legitimate " it saw many 
opera seasons worthy of note, not the least of 
these being one in the spring of 1853 of which 
Madame Sontag was the star. It also had many 
distinguished managers, among them E. L. 
Davenport, John Gibbs Gilbert, Lester Wallack 
the elder, Sothern the elder, Isaac B. Rich and 
John Stetson. Joseph Jefferson was a member 
of the company at this house during the season 


of 1853-54. Clever advertisements have always 
been a feature here and, even today, when the 
talent to be exploited is by no means of a high 
order, the emanations from the press room of the 
" Old Howard " are geras of their kind. In 
1845 it was announced by a soulful press agent: 

" As Rome points proucQy to her Coliseum, 
So Boston treats her Howard Athenaeum." 

Someone has observed that this deference on 
Boston's part may have arisen from the fact 
that the Howard was the first Boston theatre 
to have cushioned seats. 

The first Boston theatre to have a " nigger 
heaven " was the Tremont. An early program 
stated that the central gallery, to which the 
admission was fifty cents, was " reserved for 
people of color." It would be interesting to 
know how largely these people took advantage 
of the special provision made for them. Lyman 
Beecher hated with a godly hatred this Tremont 
Theatre and he once boasted that he " would 
yet preach " in the building then desecrated 
by playhouse use. He lived to fulfil the boast; 
for following a religious revival of unusual 
fervor, it was decided to sell the theatre to 
Rev. Mr. Colver's Baptist Society. The bitter 
resentment cherished by many of the clergy 
towards the theatres in Boston can hardly be 
appreciated in these days when it is so generally 


felt that the stage at its best is bent on the 
same ideals as inspire the church. Yet Lyman 
Beecher declared, when one of the theatres 
in the city was burned down, that " another 
gateway of Hell has been destroyed by the 
direct intervention of divine Providence! " 
After the Tremont Theatre had been modelled 
over into Tremont Temple it was opened (in 
the fall of 1843) with the hymn " Lord, Let 
These Ransomed Walls Rejoice." 

The last June of the Tremont's life as a 
theatre was none the less a gala month. The 
city was thronged with people who had come 
to town to be present at the ceremonies incident 
to the completion of Bunker Hill Monument — 
for which Webster delivered the oration — and 
so many people were desirous of attending the 
theatre that, for the first time in history, Boston 
had a playhouse open on Saturday evening. A 
week later, the last performance in the old 
house was held. Ere the company broke up 
on this occasion two or three speeches were 
made by actors which, to my mind, compare — 
to Lyman Beecher's disadvantage — with some 
of that divine's discourses on the subject of 
the drama. Gilbert, for instance, defended feel- 
ingly his profession. There were defects, 
he admitted, in the drama, but they could be 
removed by judicious management so that the 
most scrupulously fastidious should feel that 


the theatre was a good institution and be induced 
to patronize it. 

The cue in all this, that " by judicious man- 
agement the most scrupulously fastidious might 
be made to feel the theatre a good institution 
and so to patronize it " was promptly taken 
up by a very clever man, Moses Kimball. Mr. 
Kimball had the shrewdness to see that the 
Boston public could be made to take very 
kindly to a new theatre if the plan were broken 
to them gradually. On June 14, 1841, he had 
opened his Boston Museum and Gallery of Fine 
Arts in a building on the site where the Horti- 
cultural Hall stood later and the Paddock 
Building stands now, and to furnish his Museum 
had purchased generously from the collection 
which had been in the possession of the New 
England Museum. One of his choice acquisi- 
tions was the famous so-called historical paint- 
ing by Rembrandt Peale, representing the 
Roman Daughter giving sustenance to her 
father in prison, a startling canvas which 
until the demolition of the Old Boston Mu- 
seum greeted all who were making their exit 
down the long flight of steps that led out to 
the street. 

In order to understand what a unique oppor- 
tunity Mr. Kimball had to develop a successful 
theatre from this unobjectionable beginning it 
should be recalled that theatricals in Boston 


were just then at very low ebb. The Boston 
Theatre on Federal Street was closed, the 
National Theatre was making an appeal which 
was chiefly local, the Howard had not yet been 
started and the Tremont Theatre was expiring. 
Mr. Kimball's problem, then, was to move 
so cautiously as to make no enemies, trusting 
to Providence that, in good time, he should 
make many friends. He opened his institution 
with a " grand concert " and for two years 
nothing more exciting than dioramas and pano- 
ramas was oflFered, — in addition to music 
and the curiosities. 

But, no sooner had the Tremont closed its 
doors than Mr. Kimball made arrangements 
to give regular dramatic performances in his 
Museum and several members of the Tremont 
Company were engaged to float the venture. 
Miss Adelaide Phillips, then a child of ten, 
was among the number, and for several years 
during her early connection with the Museum 
she was wont to drive her hoop back and forth 
to rehearsals from her parents' home on Tremont 

The price of admission during all the Bromfield 
Street period of the Museum's history was 25 
cents, " children under twelve years of age 
half price." Great emphasis was laid upon the 
educational value of the curiosities and such 
shows as were produced were represented to 


be of the strictly " moral " variety. On the bills 
for 1844 a prize of $100 was oflFered by the 
management " for the best moral domestic 
drama adapted to the stock company of the 
Museum." To win this prize there was sent 
in a play called " The Drunkard " the author- 
ship of which has never been accurately known, 
but which John Bouve Clapp — who has made 
a special study of the Museum's history to 
which I am indebted for many of these facts — 
attributes to Rev. John Pierpont, then pastor 
of the HoUis Street Church. Pierpont was an 
ardent worker in the movement for temperance 
reform, and he was wont to thunder from his 
pulpit, Sunday after Sunday, against those 
who had built up fortunes by liquor manu- 
facture. This despite the fact that three of 
the pillars of his church were distillers and 
stored their rum in the basement of the church — 
thus giving point to the epigram: 

" Above the spirit Divine, 
Below the spirits of Wine." 

Perhaps it was in the belief that he could 
preach temperance to a larger audience through 
the theatre than through the church that Mr. 
Pierpont turned his attention to the writing of a 
play. One of the parts in this highly moral 
" Drunkard " was taken, it is interesting to 
know, by Miss Caroline Fox, who afterwards 


became famous, the world over, as the original 

So kindly had the Boston public taken to 
theatre-going at a " Museum " that Mr. Kim- 
ball now began to arrange for ampler quarters. 
Hammatt Billings and J. E. Billings were com- 
missioned to make plans for an adequate 
auditorium and on November 6, 1846, what we 
of today know as " the Old Boston Museum " 
was opened. The first performance began 
with the playing of " America " by the orchestra 
and in the course of the evening Adelaide 
Phillips danced. 

When the new Museum opened its doors 
the curios were displayed in the pillared prom- 
enade where the pictures hung later. Not 
until the season of 1850-51 was the " wax 
statuary hall 100 feet in length " fitted up as 
their home and " The Murder of Miss McCrea," 
the " Scene in the Cabin of a Vessel Captured 
by Pirates," the " Three Stages of Intemper- 
ance " and " The Last Supper " there " ex- 
hibited without extra charge to all who desired 
to view them." The " Feejee Mermaid," 
alluded to by Barnum in his Autobiography was 
also duly here. Mr. Kimball was by no means 
stingy with his treasures, however, and when 
the Cochituate water was let on in Boston (1848) 
two of the Museum's huge stuffed elephants 
were lent to be in the procession. 


. In that charming book, Yesterdays With 
Actors,^ there is a Hawthornesque passage 
descriptive of the quaint old gentleman who was 
long the care-taker and preserver of the wax 
figures. When Mrs. Winslow, the new recruit 
to the company, first met him (about 1860) 
he conducted her to the upper gallery she says, 
" with a confiding yet startled air which was 
almost furtive and suggested fear and suspicion. 
I could not but believe that, engrossed with 
his dumb companions, when he sought human 
fellowship, the eyes that moved, the lips that 
spoke half terrified him! However, being a 
silent person, I was taken the rounds, and every 
perfection pointed out to me. Was I not 
smitten with the belief that Chang and Eng 
were before me.? These Siamese, were they not 
real.'' He spoke with solemn earnestness of 
Miss McCrea's need of a clean gown. She 
should have it yet. But the school — the 
school. Look at it! Every face, he told me, 
had been wiped, every collar washed, every 
shoe brushed. The schoolmaster, was I not 
deceived by him-f* The scholar with the dunce's 
cap? Wax? No! it was life! . . . The ghastly 
tragedy of the drunkard's history, the verisimili- 
tude of the sealing wax blood of poor Miss 
McCrea, stark staring Santa Anna, were always 
things terrible to me, but as I think now of the 

* Written by Mrs. Erving Winslow, n6e Kate Reignolds. 


pale moonlight falling on those awful spectres 
[this book was written before the Museum was 
demolished] I have an eerie feeling that the 
little old man, though he died some time since, 
still creeps about the gallery, fulfilling his 
faithful task." 

The great event of the season 1847-1848 at 
the Museum was the first appearance at this 
house of William Warren, who (with the excep- 
tion of one year) was exclusively associated with 
this playhouse for the next thirty-five seasons. 
His initial appearance was in Pocock's old 
comedy, " Sweethearts and Wives," and he 
acted for the last time. May 12, 1883, playing 
Old Eccles in " Caste." His career may thus 
be said to cover the history of the Museum 
throughout the entire period of its palmy 
days. Mr. Warren was the son of an English 
player and of an American lady of acting 
family. He got his training through the old 
stock company system and of him it might 
peculiarly be said that in his time he " played 
many parts." While at the Museum, alone, 
his roles numbered over 575 and the per- 
formances to his credit were upwards of 13,000. 
On the fiftieth anniversary of his first appearance 
in Boston he was given a testimonial and Vin- 
ton's portrait, herewith reproduced, which was 
painted at the order of a number of Bostonians, 
was exhibited in the lobby. The picture now 


hangs in Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, a 
worthy memorial of one who was a gifted actor 
and an old school gentleman of the finest type. 

For many years Mr. Warren was a most 
interesting Boston figure as he took his daily 
walks to the Museum from his boarding place 
kept by Miss Fisher, for he never married. 
Henry Austin Clapp has declared that his 
manners were the finest he ever saw in a man 
and that he remembers hearing it said at a 
time, near the close of the Great War, by some 
men who were native here, and to the best 
Boston manner born, that " Edward Everett, 
A. B,, A. M., LL.D., ex-Governor of Massa- 
chusetts, ex-United States Senator from Massa- 
chusetts, ex-President of Harvard College, ex- 
Minister to England, litterateur, orator, states- 
man, was, in respect of distinction of manners, 
in a class with but one other of his fellow citi- 
zens: that one other appearing in the local 
directory as Warren, William, comedian, boards 

For sixteen years the stage-manager and lead- 
ing man at the Museum was W. H. Smith. He 
was succeeded in the stage management by 
Mr. E. F. Keach, a dashing actor as well as a 
capable director. Mrs. Winslow gives us an 
interesting glimpse into the green room and 
behind the scenes when Keach was at the helm : 

1 Reminiscences of a Dramatic Critic. 


" We entered by a narrow door from one of 
the galleries wkieh gave at a touch, but fell 
back as quickly with the force of a ponderous 
spring. A door-keeper, seated at the end of a 
narrow aisle some three feet wide between 
enormous piles of dusty canvas, permitted none 
to pass except the actual employees of the 
theatre. About the same space between the 
inner edge of the scenery standing in its grooves 
and the masses stacked along the walls, allowed 
a scant passage down the side of the stage. 
At one corner, where the private box is now 
was a property room, behind that the manager's 

"On the opposite side, a small space of per- 
haps six feet wide at one end tapering down to 
four at the other was the green room, its furni- 
ture a bench about the wall, a cast case, a 
dictionary and a mirror, over which was in- 
scribed ' Trifles make Perfection.' ... A hasty 
glance at the ' call ' in the green room for the 
coming plays, a word of courteous greeting 
for our fellow actors, the last conning of the 
part; such were the interludes between the 
appearances on the stage; and a more workaday, 
matter of fact place it would be hard to find." 
Yet because the players were clever men and 
women many a good thing flashed out in that 
dingy room. William Warren, Mrs. Winslow 
relates, she saw one night surrounded by a 


bevy of girls " who in their aesthetic clinging 
gowns and admring attitudes could not but 
remind me of the maidens in Patience grouped 
around Bunthorn. In speaking to him after- 
wards I told him he was the lion of the night. 
' Ah,' said Warren, ' I never heard of but one 
man who was not hurt by lionizing, and he was 
a Jew by the name of Daniel.' " It was of 
Warren that the great Rachel said simply, 
" He is one of us." 

One of Warren's early successes at the 
Museum was as Mustapha in " The Forty 
Thieves," which, with "Aladdin," "Cinder- 
ella," " Valentine and Orson," " The Enchanted 
Beauty," " Blue Beard " and " The Children of 
Cyprus " formed the series of " grand dramatic 
spectacles " which served to make friends for 
Mr. Kimball's enterprise because parents " took 
the children," — just as we all do now when 
the circus is in town. " The Children of Cy- 
prus " is especially remembered for its bird 
song rendered by Adelaide Phillips. It was the 
young artist's work in this part which first 
caused Jenny Lind to be interested in her, and 
to help her, subsequently, to a musical educa- 

The naive readiness of the Bostonians to 
take the new theatre, disguised as a " Museum," 
at Mr. Kimball's shrewedly calculated valua- 
tion is nowhere more amusingly shown than 


in the various handbooks of the time. In the 
1856 edition of Boston Sights and Strangers' 
Guide we find unbounded enthusiasm over 
" the spacious and superb building, its front 
adorned by elegant balconies and rows of ground 
glass globes like enormous pearls which at 
night are luminous with gas. Three tiers of 
elegantly arched windows admit light into the 
building," adds the writer, " and we reach the 
interior by a bold flight of stairs." 

A bold flight of description this! Yet even 
more impressive matter follows, for we are told 
of the statuary and superb works of art, of the 
curios which are " products of many a clime " 
. . . and of an observatory surmounting all 
" whence splendid panoramic views of the city 
and harbor and its islands may be obtained." 
After which comes the editorial assurance that 
" the Museum theatre is one of the most 
beautifully decorated, best constructed and 
well managed theatres in the United States. 
The visitor there has no rowdyism to fear and 
nothing ever occurs either in the audience por- 
tion or on the stage to offend the most fastidious. 
As good order is maintained in Mr. Kimball's 
theatre as in any drawing room in the land." 

The reserved seat plan was adopted at the 
Museum in 1848, slips entitling to the same 
being partly printed and partly filled out by 
hand. The following year Edwin Booth, called 



(11 13 


I S 

Si +* 
+* o 

> . 00 



in the bills Edwin T. Booth, was seen here for 
the first time on any stage, his role being the 
small one of Tressel in " Richard III " to his 
father's Gloster. This was September 10, 1849, 
young Booth being then sixteen years old. 

Two very interesting things happened at the 
Museum in the season of 1852-53 : " Uncle 
Tom's Cabin " was staged and Mrs. Vincent 
joined the company. The dramatization of Mrs. 
Stowe's story was made by H. J. Conway, 
Frank Whitman played Uncle Tom, W. H. 
Smith did Drover John, J. Davies was Simon 
Legree, E. F. Keach did the George Harris, 
J. A. Smith was the St. Clare, Mrs. Wulf 
Fries did the Eliza, Mrs. Thoman was Aunt 
Ophelia, Helen Western was the Eva and 
Miss Gazzynski acted Topsy. An interpolated 
character — Penetrate Partyside — who created 
" comic relief " in the play was done by William 
Warren, and Mrs. Vincent, then a slim and 
swift young woman, acted Cassy. On one 
memorable evening Mrs. Stowe and her sister, 
together with their father, Rev. Lyman Beecher, 
— who hated the theatre generally, — attended 
the performance. 

Mrs. Vincent's maiden name was Mary Ann 
Farley and she was born in Portsmouth, Eng- 
land, September 18, 1818. Her father was a 
naval officer but he died when she was only 
two and her mother's decease soon afterward 


left the child to be brought up and cared for 
by an aunt, a grandmother and an old servant. 
This servant married a man who lived in Gos- 
port and began to take boarders, among them 
several actors, including Charles Wilson, man- 
ager of the Theatre at Cowes, and his wife. 
Little Miss Farley used to go to have tea with 
them at the theatre; thus her stage desires were 
early kindled. She made her debut at Cowes 
in April, 1835, in " The Review, or the Wags of 
Windsor," by George Colman, Jr., playing with 
much vim and vigor the part of a chamber- 
maid. The following August, when only sixteen, 
she married James R. Vincent, a comedian many 
years her senior. Her Boston debut, as has 
been said, was at the National Theatre and she 
had been in the company there six years when 
the burning of the playhouse made her eligible 
for an engagement at the Museum. Here her 
connection was continuous, (with the exception 
of the season 1861-62 when she supported 
Edwin Forrest at the Howard Athenaeum) 
until her death September 4, 1887. In 1856 
she married John Wilson of the Museum com- 
pany, but, this alliance not proving a happy 
one, she was divorced from him ten years later. 
It is quite properly as Mrs. Vincent, therefore, 
— " dear old Mrs. Vincent," — that this gifted 
woman is remembered and honored in Boston. 
Up to the very end of her life she kept happily 


in the harness. She died, September 4, 1887, 
at her home 112 Charles Street; on the pre- 
ceding Wednesday she had played Kezia Beek- 
man in " The Dominie's Daughter! " 

Mrs. Vincent's kindness to animals and her 
generous charities were famous in the Boston 
of a quarter century ago. On one occasion when 
all the other members of the Museum company 
were assembled, she was found by messengers, 
hastily sent out in quest of her, standing in the 
midst of a crowd at the corner of Tremont 
Row and Pemberton Square, haranguing a 
teamster who was driving a lame horse. " Her 
fervent denunciations, pointed by her umbrella," 
says Kate Reignolds Winslow,^ " were scarcely 
to be interrupted by the urgent reminder that the 
stage was waiting. As she was dragged away 
and hurried up the stairs of the Museum, we 
heard her panting for breath and brokenly 
exclaiming in anything but a tone of penitence: 
' Well, I don't care if the stage is waiting, and 
I don't care for Mr. Keach nor twenty like him. 
I won't see a brute driving a horse on three legs 

' without speaking my mind.' " 

This manager, Mr. E. F. Keach, appears to 
have been a good deal of a martinet. Yet it was 

.undoubtedly due to him that the Boston 
Museum developed from a mere stage adjunct 
of wax figures and curiosities (frequented by 

» In Yesterdays with Actors, 


good people who were afraid of the very name, 
theatre) to a first rate home of first rate drama. 
His " Rules and Regulations " concerning the 
conduct of the company, while in the Green 
Room, were quite above the standard in other 
theatres. They made it clear that the " Green 
Room is provided for the quiet and respectable 
assemblage of the ladies and gentlemen of the 
company," that " conversation there must be 
carried on in low tones," and that " smoking 
and spirituous liquors would not be allowed 
there or in any part of the theatre at any 
time." After four years as manager Mr. 
Keach was succeeded by R. M. Field, who held 
the place until the stock company was dis- 
continued in 1895. 

Mrs. Winslow (then Kate Reignolds) was 
leading woman in the company beginning with 
the first season under Keach (1860-61), and her 
vivid account of acting with John Wilkes 
Booth, who soon came to play an engagement, 
leaves one in no doubt that this man was very 
close to insanity even before his affliction was 
recognized. " If ever there was an irresponsible 
person," she says, "it was this sad-faced, 
handsome, passionate boy. As an actor he 
had more of the native fire and fury of his great 
father than any of his family but he was as 
undisciplined on the stage as oflF. When he 
fought it was no stage fight. He told me that 


he generally slept smothered in steak and 
oysters to cure his own bruises after Richard 
the Third, because he necessarily got as good 
as he gave, — in fact more, for though an 
excellent swordsman, in his blind passion he 
constantly cut himself. How he threw me 
about ! In Othello, when with fiery remorse, 
he rushed to the bed of Desdemona after the 
murder, I used to hold my breath, lest the bang 
his cimeter gave when he threw himself at 
me should force me back to life with a shriek." 
Once when he and she had been playing " Romeo 
and Juliet " the curtain fell on Romeo with a 
sprained thumb, and a good deal of long hair 
on his sleeve, and with Juliet in rags while 
her two white satin shoes were lying in the 
corner of the stage. In his last struggle Romeo 
had literally shaken his beloved out of her 
shoes ! 

Agnes Robertson was one of the attractions 
at the Museum in writing of whom Mrs. Wins- 
low waxes exceedingly enthusiastic. This gifted 
young Scotchwoman played for the first time 
in the United States (in the season of 1856-57) 
at this house and so great was her vogue that 
all Boston stood in line to secure tickets. " She 
was petted in society, — for women were fas- 
cinated by her perhaps even more than men, — 
and equally in drawing-rooms and among the 
garish adjimcts of the stage there was a bright 


purity about her, like the atmosphere of her 
own Scotland. 

" Opposite the Museum in those days was 
Mrs. Mayer's ice-cream saloon, a favorite 
meeting place for parties going to the play. A 
mob of girls would cluster about the sidewalk 
to wait the exit of Agnes Robertson, and the 
more favored customers of the shop gathered 
at its windows, which Mrs. Mayer would empty 
of her showcase to make room for the curious 
throng. . . . Often under good Mrs. Vincent's 
care, and beneath her ample cloak, the little 
form was smuggled past the eager eyes " to her 
quarters in the Tremont House. One other 
delightful bit about Mrs. Vincent must be 
quoted from this book. It is a picture of that 
lady among her cats ! " Once when a visitor, 
who could not abide that ' harmless necessary ' 
animal, was calling at the house on Charles 
Street the door was pushed stealthily open, 
after a little space, and a great glossy black 
puss, with tail erect and gleaming eyes, slowly 
entered the darkened parlor. Soon a second 
followed the first, this one with bushy tail, 
red eyes and bristling fur. Then came another 
and another until there were five. Great was 
the visitor's relief when the hostess herself 
bustled in calling ' William Warren,' ' Smithy,' 
and so on, for all had the names of principal 
members of the Museum company! " 


But the temptation to linger unduly over 
the story of the Museum must be resisted. 
In 1892 the exhibition of curiosities was prac- 
tically discontinued. In 1896 the wax figures 
were sold to a travelling manager and the mum- 
mies were given to the Boston Art Museum. 
On April 13, 1900, there occurred a slight fire 
in the hall of curiosities by which some of the 
paintings were injured and, in 1903, Margaret 
Anglin played " Mrs. Dane's Defence " for the 
benefit of the Vincent Memorial Hospital, 
this being the last performance held in the 
old playhouse before it gave way to an office 
building. " Auld Lang Syne " was sung in the 
•course of the evening and, as the final curtain 
rang down, the eyes of many a seasoned play- 
goer were dimmed with tears. For Boston loved 
its " old Museum " and the associations which 
clustered around it. 

The only one of the really old theatres which 
survives today, in spirit as well as in truth, is 
the Boston Theatre. For, unlike the Howard, 
this house sticks to " the legitimate " for the 
most part and it is withal a delight to the eye, 
as its designers intended it should be. William 
W. Clapp, Jr., to whose Record of the Boston 
Stage (published in 1853) I am indebted for 
much information about the old theatres, closes 
his carefully compiled volume with an allusion 
to the " New Opera House and Theatre now in 


process of erection " and the hope that the same 
would receive from the pubhc a most generous 
support. Whereupon he quotes as follows from 
a letter just sent him by Thomas Barry, " The 
drama is firmly planted in New England for 
good or for evil; you cannot crush it by preju- 
dice or destroy it by misplaced religious en- 
thusiasm. The public can make a theatre a 
blessing or a curse. . . . You will have sooner 
or later a first class theatre in Boston and, if 
properly built and properly conducted, it will 
prove a boon to the public and a fortune to the 
manager." In many ways these words were 
prophetic. For Barry himself soon came over 
from New York to establish such a theatre in 
Boston and it proved to be quite as successful 
as he had said it would. 

It was built in this wise: A meeting was 
called at the Revere House in 1852 by Joseph 
Leonard, the auctioneer, for the purpose of 
creating interest in the erection of a new Boston 
playhouse. The sum deemed necessary to the 
undertaking ($250,000 in blocks of stock sold 
at $1,000 a share) was soon secured, an appro- 
priate site purchased, the contract let to a 
firm of architects who carried out the design 
for which H. Noury had won a prize of $500, — 
and, on September 11, 1854, the house was 

The perfect harmony of proportions attained 


in this theatre are a great credit to the period 
in which the structure was built. For excellent 
acoustics and symmetry were the aims of those 
behind the undertaking, not simply accommoda- 
tion for as many seats as could be crowded into 
a given space. Alexander Corbett, Jr., who has 
written entertainingly^ of this old house, says 
that " standees," who nowadays often contrib- 
ute liberally to a theatre's income, were 
practically unknown when the Boston Theatre 
was built and that there still existed much of 
that old prejudice against occupants of the 
lower floor seats — those whom Hamlet char- 
acterizes as " groundlings, caring only for 
inexplicable dumb show and noise." The 
balcony, where seats sold for one dollar each, 
was the place where fashion chose to sit, when 
it was not occupying a stage box, which then 
cost six dollars. 

The very first folding chairs ever used in a 
theatre were found here on the opening night 
and were warmly commended by one of the 
critics, as " being so ingeniously contrived as to 
fold up and allow passing and having nicely 
cushioned backs." Another innovation, which 
deserved the critic's praise, — though I have 
yet to find that it got it, — was the substitution 
of a refreshment counter at which ice-cream, 
temperance drinks and the like were served, 

1 In The Bostonian. vol. I. 


for the bar-room on the third tier, which was 
then a feature of most local playhouses. (The 
most baneful part of the bar lay not in the 
drinks served but in the " demi-mondaines " 
who fluttered about near by.) 

The first word spoken on the stage of this 
new theatre was by John Gilbert, who read an 
original poem of Thomas W. Parsons, which had 
won a prize of one hundred dollars. The opening 
play was Sheridan's " Rivals " and a farce 
called " The Loan of a Lover " followed. 
According to the custom of the times, this 
introduced what are now known as " vaudeville 
specialties." A feature of the orchestral selec- 
tions was the playing of the " William Tell " 
overture, the critics greatly praising this change 
from the " tinkling polkas " with which most 
theatre orchestras regaled their patrons. Only 
five performances a week were given here at 
first. Then Saturday matinees were inaugu- 
rated; but not for several years was there a 
performance on the eve of the Lord's Day. 

During the season 1859-60 the name of the 
house was changed to the " Boston Academy 
of Music " and grand opera with Adelina Patti 
as the prima donna and Brignoli as the tenor 
introduced. Then (in 1862), under the man- 
agement of Wyzeman Marshall, the former 
name was restored. Six years later, in February, 
1868, came the memorable production of " The 


White Fawn," that marvel of spectacular dis- 
play which marks the beginning, in this city, 
of the kind of thing of which " The Black Crook" 
was the pioneer in New York. The Boston 
Theatre's chief renown, however, was to come 
from its association with great acting and great 
actors, among them Forrest, Edwin Booth, 
Charlotte Cushman, Rachel, Fechter and Irving. 

From 1879 on Henry Clay Barnabee is as- 
sociated with the history of comic opera at 
this house, first as a member of the Boston 
Ideal Opera Company and later (after 1887) as 
one of the newly formed company long known 
as the Bostonians. 

It was at the Boston Theatre, in 1857, that 
Edwin Booth first met sweet Mary Devlin, 
herself then a member of the stock company, 
whom he soon made his wife; and it was during 
Booth's engagement here, in the spring of 
1865, that the assassination of Lincoln took 
place at the hands of the tragedian's brother. 
On that historic evening Mr. Booth was seen 
in7'The Iron Chest" and "Don Csesar de 
Bazan," and, without having heard of the sad 
tragedy, retired for the night at the home of 
his friend Dr. Orlando Tompkins in Franklin 
Square, where he was visiting. " On the 
following morning," writes the son of his host ^ 
" an old family servant, his colored valet, 

1 In The History of the Boston Theatre. 


greeted him with, ' Have you heard the news, 
Massa Edwin? President Lincoln done been 
shot and killed.' ' Great God,' said the horrified 
tragedian, ' who did that? ' ' Well,' replied 
the negro, ' they done say Massa John did it.' " 
It was Dr. Tompkins, then proprietor of the 
Boston Theatre, who hastened to New York with 
Booth to comfort the grief -stricken mother. 
Several seasons passed before Boston again saw 
Booth on the stage. Then he became identified, 
in the public mind, with that Prince of Denmark 
who, like himself, had drunk the bitter water of 

Another Hamlet who greatly delighted Boston 
Theatre patrons was Charles Fechter (pro- 
nounced Fayshtair by the person chiefly con- 
cerned) who played the role here in March, 
1870. Clapp pronounces ^ Fechter's love- 
making to have been the best he ever saw on 
the stage, but he did not at all agree, none the 
less, with the foreigner's interpretation of the 
Danish prince, and was one day trying to make 
his criticisms understood by the actor only to 
discover that Fechter really did not know the 
meaning of some of the English words upon 
which his conception of the part turned! The 
prince, said Fechter, did not procrastinate but 
pursued his task with vigor. " Do you not 
recall," he urged, "the words of Hamlet's 

1 In Reminiscences of a Dramatic Critic. 


father in the Queen's closet, ' I come to wet 
thy almost blunted purpose? ' It was thus 
made plain that Fechter had never distinguished 
' whet ' from ' wet ' and that he had no notion 
of the force of ' blunted.' His idea was that the 
Ghost's declared purpose was to ' wet ' down 
and so reduce the excessive flame of Hamlet's 

Fechter was financially interested for a time 
in Selwyn's Theatre, which he renamed the 
Globe and of which he announced himself 
" sole manager " September 12, 1870. This 
house had then been in existence only three 
years and it survived less than three years longer, 
burning down May 30, 1873, in the same fire 
which consumed Chickering's pianoforte ware- 
rooms, the Chauncy Hall School and several 
other buildings in that vicinity. It was, how- 
ever, soon rebuilt by Arthur Cheney, who kept 
control of it until, in September, 1877, it passed 
into the management of John Stetson. To us 
the house is of interest as the scene, on May 15, 
1875, of Charlotte Cushman's farewell appear- 
ance in the city of her birth. 

Henry Austin Clapp characterizes Charlotte 
Cushman as " the only actress native to our 
soil to whom the adjective ' great ' can fitly be 
applied." By birth, kindred and education 
she was Bostonian but she played her first 
part, that of Lady Macbeth, in New Orleans. 


Nearly forty years later, when she acted for the 
last time at the Globe Theatre in Boston, her 
role was again — Lady Macbeth. It would be 
very interesting to know how far and in what 
manner Miss Cushman's early conception of 
this great part differed from her later view of it, 
but all that we are sure of is that she pleased 
the audience, the managers and the members 
of the company on both occasions. Clapp 
speaks especially of the way in which Miss 
Cushman's voice was " saturated with anguish " 
in this part during the soliloquy near the opening 
of the second scene of the third act: — 

" Nought's had, all's spent. 
Where our desire is got without content: 
'Tis safer to be that which we destroy 
Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy." 

The words, he says, " were accompanied by the 
wringing of her hands; and through the first 
couplet, as she gave it, the listener was made 
to gaze into the depths of a soul, soon to enter 
the night of madness, already enduring the 
torments of hell." 

Yet this Lady Macbeth was a gaunt, stockily- 
built woman of nearly sixty in the throes of a 
mortal disease ! Her return to the stage and to 
the readings which marked her later life were 
by the advice of her physicians, who thought 
she might so bear with less anguish (her mind 


being occupied) the inevitable suffering imposed 
by her disease. 

" I was born a tomboy," is the opening sen- 
tence of the autobiographical fragment once 
written by Miss Cushman at the request of her 
friends. In those days " tomboy " was the 
epithet bestowed upon all girls who preferred 
games and movement to sewing a seam, in a 
quiet chimney corner, and the needle was never 
a favorite implement with the great tragedian. 
Though Charlotte was an apt scholar the family 
circumstances were such that she left school 
and began to help towards her support when 
she was only thirteen. At this time her home 
was in Charlestown, not in the North End, 
where she had been born on the site now given 
over to a schoolhouse bearing her name. Pov- 
erty was her lot for a long time, even after she 
had begun to do well in her profession. For 
as soon as she had secured a good position at 
the Park Theatre, New York, she brought her 
mother on from Boston and made her care and 
that of the four other children the business of 
her life. Then her dearly cherished brother, 
Charley, was killed by a fall from a horse she had 
given him — a blow from which she never quite 
recovered. " The jacket he wore at the time 
was always preserved," says Miss Stebbins, her 
friend and biographer, " and went with them 
from place to place through all her wanderings." 


This loss was particularly hard for Charlotte 
Cushman to bear because hers was an ardently 
affectionate nature and she had just struggled 
through " the very hardest thing that can 
come to a woman." Yet because she had lived 
through this and once and for all gave over 
" casting about for the ' counterpart ' " she 
was able to give her entire self to her work. 

In this and in the nobility of her character 
lies the secret of her success. Moreover, she 
had enormous courage. The story of her setting 
forth at twenty-eight, to conquer London, all 
by herself, is astounding. One very interesting 
role undertaken by Miss Cushman, while in 
London, — and in this country also, later, — 
was that of " Romeo " to her sister Susan's 
" Juliet." This was such a triumph of act- 
ing that James Sheridan Knowles, the great 
dramatist and critic, was completely carried 
away by it. Of her acting of the passage 
where Romeo flings himself upon the ground, 
" taking the iheasure of an unmade grave," he 
says: "It was a scene of topmost passion — 
not simulated passion; no such thing — real, 
palpably real; the genuine heart-storm was on 
in its wildest fitfulness of fury, and I listened and 
gazed and held my breath, while my blood ran 
hot and cold. I am sure it must have been the 
case with every one in the house, but I was all 
absorbed in Romeo till a thunder of applause 

CD ■M 




recalled me to myself." And of her assumption 
of the difficult part of Claude Melnotte in 
" The Lady of Lyons " Justin McCarthy says: 
" I have seen Claude Melnotte played by many 
great actors, from Macready to Irving, but 
Miss Cushman eclipsed them all. She created 
for me the only human, the only possible, and 
-the only endurable Claude Melnotte I have 
ever seen." 

It is, however, for her work in Meg Merrilies 
that Miss Cushman will be longest remembered. 
For this was the most famous and popular of 
her efforts and it was, also, the only thing she 
did which could deservedly be called a " crea- 
tion." Scott's character was nothing but the 
germ of the part as she played it. 

Much of Miss Cushman's life, after she had 
made her success, was passed in Rome, where she 
had a pleasant home and exercised delightful 
hospitality. Theodore Parker was one of the 
Bostonians whose last days in the Eternal City 
she sought to cheer. Two notes from him give 
a pleasant insight into the sweet domestic side 
of this great woman : 

"My dear Miss Cushman: — Many thanks 
for all your favors, — the drive the other day, 
the old fashioned chicken pie this day. Alas! 
I have no coach, no oven; but as you have 
often taken a kindly interest in me, I think 


you may like to read some of my latest publica- 
tions, so I send a couple of little things which 
came by mail and are the only copies in Europe." 

. . . Another note says, " I thank you heartily 
for the great loaf of Indian corn bread. It is 
like the song of Zion sung in a strange land and 
among the willows. It carries me back to dear 
old Boston once more." 

To Miss Cushman, as well as to Parker, 
Boston was very dear. Three years after the 
famous Radical's death she helped dedicate 
the Great Organ (November 2, 1863) in the 
Music Hall with which his fame is bound up. 
Yet the triumph of her career, so far as Boston's 
civic festivals go, undoubtedly came when the 
schoolhouse which had been built on the site 
of her birth and named for her was dedicated. 
On this occasion she made what was called her 
" maiden speech " to a thousand girls assembled 
in the upper hall. She sat radiant upon the 
platform, amidst teachers and dignitaries, a 
flush of joy illuminating her face, already pale 
with the inroads of the insidious cancer which 
ended her life in five short years. She said 
she had walked those streets as poor as any girl 
within the sound of her voice. They knew 
something of the niche she filled in the pantheon 
of culture and art; but she assured them she 


had gained this altitude by unflagging industry, 
unswerving principle, unfaltering persistence, 
untiring patience — by giving herself outright 
to her work; for she ranked painstaking above 
ability and genius. 

Miss Cushman's delight in this school event 
was profound. In a letter written to a friend 
in England, we read: " When I went to my 
native city, where they never believed in me 
as much as they did elsewhere, I came to have 
such praise as made my heart satisfied. ... I 
was proud, first, that an actress had won this 
favor; next, that for the first time it had been 
bestowed upon a woman; and then came the 
civic pride, in knowing that my townspeople 
should care that I ever was born. Nothing 
in all my life has so pleased me." 

The last winter of Miss Cushman's life was 
passed at the Parker House in Boston. And 
there, surrounded by loving friends, she died 
February 18, 1876. She was buried in Mount 
Auburn after a funeral service in King's Chapel. 
From among the many contemporary tributes of 
pulpit and press I have selected the following by 
Rev. Henry W. Foote, then the minister at this 
historic church, because it does justice to the 
possibilities of the dramatic profession as well as 
because it memorializes Miss Cushman: " There 
was a time when the world sneered at the 
possibility of virtue in dramatic life, and by 


the sneer, and what went with it, did its worst 
to make virtue impossible. But it has been given 
to our generation to show in lives, among which 
happily our noble townswoman does not stand 
alone, that a pure spirit can go stainless, as the 
lady in Milton's ' Comus,' through corruptions." 



JUST as Benjamin West had been of immense 
service to Copley at a crucial point in 
his (Copley's) career ' so the Pennsylvanian 
greatly helped Gilbert Stuart when that gifted 
yoimg American presented himself, without any 
kind of introduction, at his London studio 
and besought his good oflSces. Gilbert Stuart, 
generally acknowledged to be our best portrait 
painter, was born in Rhode Island (in 1755), 
but inasmuch as he passed the last twenty 
years of his life in Boston, — where he died, 
July 27, 1828, — he comes properly within the 
scope of this book. 

Almost in his cradle this born painter began 
his life work, and by the time he was thirteen 
he had taught himself so much that he had no 
difficulty in getting portrait orders which would 
have enabled him to at least live by his brush. 
But, just then, Cosmo Alexander, who was in 
this country on a visit, saw some of his work 
and was so struck with his talent that he took 

> See Old Boston Days and Ways, p. 190. 


him back to England with him, promising to put 
him there in the way of good instruction. 
Unhappily, however, Alexander died as soon 
as he reached home and poor Stuart was left, 
friendless and penniless, in a strange and hostile 
land. For two years he struggled manfully to 
educate himself at Glasgow University and then 
he returned to America in the hope of finding 
Fortune once more favorable to his talents. 
But this was at a time when men's souls were 
so tried by anxieties that they were not having 
their portraits painted, and in 1775 Stuart again 
sailed for England in the last vessel that left 
Boston harbor before the blockade. 

It was at this juncture that he sought out 
West, who, seeing his promise of genius, taught 
him gladly and gave him a home in his family. 
In ten years he had made such progress 
that he was able to set up a studio for himself. 
With immediate success, too! No one but 
Reynolds and Gainsborough charged and re- 
ceived such large prices for their pictures as 
Stuart at this time commanded. 

Then (in 1792) he grew suddenly desirous of 
seeing his native land again and, abandoning 
all his old friends, he sailed for New York. 
Two years there, followed by a sojourn in Phila- 
delphia and another in Washington, intervened 
before he came to Boston. But when he did 
come he stayed the rest of his life, as has been 


said; and in Boston may be found today his 
greatest work, the famous portrait of Wash- 
ington, for which, with that of Mrs. Washington, 
the Athenaeum paid $1500 after Stuart's death. 

For many years Stuart's home and painting- 
room was in Washington Place, Fort Hill, 
where his geniality and charm as a conver- 
sationalist drew many sitters, all of whom soon 
assumed in his presence their most characteristic 
expressions and so met half way the artist's 
determination to get a faithful portrait. Wash- 
ington Allston has said of him that " he seemed 
to dive into the thoughts of men; for they were 
made to rise and speak on the surface." His 
task, as he himself put it, was " copying the 
works of God and leaving clothes to the tailors 
and mantua-makers," an interesting variation, 
surely, from the manner of Copley, who pre- 
ceded him in the painting of all Boston's 
" best people." 

During the last ten years of Stuart's life 
Washington Allston was his near neighbor, 
living and working in a barn on the Prince 
Estate, near the corner of Pearl and High Streets. 
Allston was born in South Carohna in 1779 
and, after being educated at Newport and at 
Harvard College, sailed for England in 1801. 
There and on the Continent he enjoyed a 
period of study, but the richest years of his life 
were four which he passed in Rome living on 


terms of close friendship with Coleridge, Turner, 
Fenimore Cooper and Irving. He declared 
that he owed more, intellectually, to Coleridge 
than to anybody else, and Coleridge, in turn, 
pronounced him " the first genius produced 
by the Western world." It was generally con- 
ceded that, for two hundred years, no artist's 
coloring had so closely resembled that of 
Titian as did AUston's, and there was certainly 
very much of poetry in the conception of many 
of his pictures. 

AUston's first period of residence in Boston 
was during the years 1809-10. At this time 
he married Miss Ann Channing, sister of 
William EUery Channing, to whom he had 
long been engaged, and kept a studio in Court 
Street, between Brattle Street and Cornhill, 
where he executed several portraits at good 
prices. The early death of Mrs. AUston in 
England was so great a blow to him that for 
a long time he was nearly frantic with grief; 
but eventually his mind regained its tone and, 
in 1818, he again came to Boston believing that 
he ought now to give his own country the benefit 
of such talent as he possessed. In 1830 he 
was married for a second time to a sister of 
Richard Henry Dana and the next year he 
built himself a studio in Cambridgeport which 
was to be his home for the rest of his life. Here 
he worked, off and on, for years, — until his 


death in 1843, indeed, — at the " Belshazzar," 
on which several liberal Bostonians had ad- 
vanced part of the purchase price of ten thou- 
sand dollars demanded for it. Worry over his 
inability to complete this work is believed to 
have hastened AUston's death. The picture 
is now in the Boston IMuseum of Fine Arts. 

The next Boston painter of genius — for 
neither Chester Harding nor Joseph Ames, who 
were popular portrait painters of the nineteenth 
century, deserve this appellation — was William 
Morris Hunt, who made his home in our city 
from 1862 until his death in 1879. Hunt was 
born in Brattleboro, Vermont, in 1824 and he 
entered Harvard College in 1840. But he 
quitted Cambridge without taking his degree 
and, after studying at Dlisseldorf and in Cou- 
ture's atelier in Paris, fell under the spell of 
Millet, through whose influence his work grew 
notably in depth and power. " When I came 
to know Millet," he has said, " I took broader 
views of humanity, of the world, of life. His 
subjects were real people who had work to do. 
. . . He is the only man since the Bible was 
written who has expressed things in a Biblical 
way." Millet's work is now so highly regarded 
that it is interesting to note that this Boston 
artist had much to do with bringing to him the 
success he deserved, — and that the first hun- 
dred dollar bill Millet ever had came from 


Martin Brimmer, to whom, through Hunt's 
good oflSces, one of the master's pictures was 

In 1855 Hunt returned to America and, by 
his marriage to Miss Louisa Dumeresq Perkins, 
became a member of Boston's inner circle. 
What " Hunt said," for he was a great wit, was 
soon quoted at every dinner-party. His home at 
this time was on Beacon Street, but he did his 
painting in a small room at the corner of Sum- 
mer and Hawley Streets. There he painted his 
first great portrait, that of Chief Justice Shaw, 
which now hangs in the Court House at Salem, 
Massachusetts, and has justly been likened, for 
its wonderful rendering of character, to the 
portraits of Velasquez. Hunt had studied 
sculpture in his youth and there is in this 
portrait (as well as in that of John A. Andrew, 
reproduced in this book) much that suggests 
the sculptor's treatment of his subject. When 
the Shaw portrait was completed it was ex- 
hibited in the gallery of Williams and Everett, 
and while there, says Helen M. Knowlton, who 
was a pupil of Hunt and has written a sympa- 
thetic life of him, " excited more derision than 
any other portrait that had even been shown in 
Boston." Yet after Hammatt Billings had 
declared it " the greatest portrait that was 
ever painted in this country " the rule-of- 
thumb critics were so disconcerted that they 


quickly subsided. This portrait has in it some 
of the quahties which have made Sargent's 
Wertheimer the wonder of our own time. 

From the manuscripts of Kate Field Miss 
Knowlton quotes the following vivid description 
of Hunt in his studio: " You like real artists 
and specimens of real art, so come with me to 
Summer Street, mount to the top of Mercantile 
Building, pause before the name of Hunt and 
knock. The door is opened by a tall thin 
man . . . crowned with a round hat and re- 
sembling Titian as painted by himself. You 
know that you are standing before an original 
man, before one who answers his own questions. 
. . . Hunt has genius, not fully developed, per- 
haps (he calls himself a student), but still 
genius, and is possessed of all the charming 
simplicity of character peculiar to it. Cordial 
in manner and tremendously in earnest while 
conversing upon real things, you thank the 
good stars that have led you to one of the elect, 
one of the few who make life interesting, who 
furnish the seasoning for the social pudding, 
a man with whom you can sit down and have 
a royal good talk, from which you arise ex- 
hilarated and refreshed, ... for William Hunt 
hates sham in all its .forms." 

The great fire of 1872 destroyed almost all 
Hunt's drawings and sketches, — the work of 
more than twenty years. But he rallied from 


the blow with characteristic pluck and, five 
years later, was exhibiting in his new studio at 
1 Park Square a very large and varied collection 
of works done since the fire. In the spring of 
1878 he spent some time at Niagara and made 
several views of the Falls. From this work he 
was called to fill two large spaces above the 
windows of the Senate Chamber at Albany, 
which he did with great success. But his health 
had not for some years been rugged and he had 
overtaxed it. The following July he went to 
the Isles of Shoals to rest under the care of his 
friends, the Thaxters, and there, in September, 
the end came. His lifeless body was found 
floating in a small reservoir among the low hills, 
having fallen from the adjacent ledge during 
an attack of the vertigo to which he was subject. 
Mrs. S. W. Whitman, who was one of Hunt's 
foremost pupils, wrote of him, " Happily for 
us his works remain; and to those among whom 
he lived there remains, also, the glowing re- 
membrance of a nature high, generous and true, 
— of gifts so noble and of a presence so inspiring 
that the very memory seems still, even as he 
seemed, ' a splendor among shadows.' " 

What is generally regarded as Hunt's master- 
piece, " The Bathers," has just been bought 
by the Worcester Art Museum for $10,000, the 
record price for a work of his. The picture 
represents a group of nude boys disporting 


themselves in a secluded pool overhung by 
luxuriant green foliage. The trees, the gray- 
tones of the water, and the flesh tones of the 
figures, which are partly under water, combine 
to make a beautiful color scheme while the 
figure of one lad, who is poised on his com- 
panions' shoulders, ready to dive, is a superb 
piece of modelling. 

And now we come to the musicians whom 
" fond memory recalls " in connection with 
nineteenth century Boston: Jenny Lind, who 
was married here, Ole Bull, who had a residence 
in nearby Cambridge, and Adelaide Phillips, 
whose early years were passed in Boston and 
who always called the city " home." 

Let us then begin with Jenny Lind, whom 
Phineas T. Barnum brought to America in 1850 
and who seems in every way to have been one 
of the few among that showman's offerings 
who was " worth the price of admission." It 
was a high price, too; $640 was paid in Boston 
for the first choice of seats at her initial concert 
in the Old Tremont Temple. Thomas Ryan, 
to whose Recollections of An Old Musician 
I am indebted for much of my information 
concerning the concerts of this period, records 
that he himself paid fifteen dollars apiece for 
three good seats on this occasion. And when 
Mile. Lind gave her final concert in Boston, in 
the hall of the then just-finished Fitchburg 


Depot, one thousand people paid a dollar each 
for standing room. 

Whatever Jenny Lind did as a singer pales 
before what Barnum accomplished for her as a 
press agent. Probably a year in advance of 
the young woman's arrival in America he began 
to spread broadcast, through the papers of the 
day, tales of " the Swedish Nightingale," the 
" musical saint," the " angel of the stage " and 
the rest. A regular system of short paragraphs 
and lengthy histories was sent out from his 
offices and published far and wide, the reason 
being that he had agreed, without ever having 
seen or heard Jenny Lind, to pay her $1000 
each for one hundred and fifty concerts in addi- 
tion to paying all the expenses of herself, her 
secretary and her companion. Her pianist was 
to be given $25,000, her baritone $12,500 and 
both were to be free of all expense. Before the 
singer's departure from Europe the entire 
amount had to be satisfactorily secured and in 
order to do this — the sum necessary came to 
$187,000 — Barnum nearly bankrupted himself. 
No wonder he made it the object of his life to 
create an overwhelming interest in his " star." 

Mile. Lind's early history was accordingly 
told and retold: the poverty; the tribulations; 
the childish singing-days in the streets for 
coppers; her exquisite voice, which so moved 
a benevolent lady that she " took her up " and 


gave her lessons under Garcia; then years of 
careful training for the opera and preparations 
for a public debut. Finally, all the great capitals 
of Europe are at Jenny's feet; in one the police 
were not able to control the crowds who wished 
to hear her and the infantry had to be called 
out ! Yet, after six years of this, said the press- 
notices, Jenny Lind came suddenly to the 
conclusion that she must not longer mingle with 
theatre folk. Fortuitously, it was mentioned 
that oratorio was her best medium and that 
she was now giving away all her money to the 

Never before in the world's history had such 
talent been united with so many virtues and 
such great benevolence! So skilfully was the 
public assured of this by Barnum that, when 
Jenny Lind's steamer arrived in New York, 
enthusiasm was actually boundless. Twenty 
thousand people surrounded her hotel until 
midnight, serenading her with a band of two 
hundred pieces and hoarsely shouting her name. 
Not until Barnum had led her out on the 
balcony to bow her thanks, would the crowd 
disperse. Mile. Lind was now a mania just as 
her manager had meant she should be. 

But could she sing? you ask. Hear what 
Thomas Ryan, an accomplished musician, and 
for many years a member of the famous Men- 
delssohn Quintet Club of Boston, has to say on 


this score: " She deserved all that was claimed 
for her, — unmusical nonsensical stories ex- 
cepted. Her voice was of extensive range, 
reaching easily to D. in alt, — a voice of veiled 
quality with something of the essence of a tear 
in it. She had almost unlimited execution, 
sang with great earnestness, and did everything 
in a highly finished broad style. Such pieces 
as ' On Mighty Pens ' from the Creation, and 
* I know that My Redeemer Liveth ' she sang 
with so devotional a sentiment that she really 
seemed like some inspired priestess proclaiming 
her faith. Doubtless many people in Boston 
will remember that, when she had reached the 
end of the last-named song and made her bow, 
Daniel Webster, who was a listener, arose from 
his seat in the audience and, with great dignity, 
returned the bow. 

" Her intonation was perfect. Benedict had 
written for her a very long cadenza to fit the end 
of a cavatina from ' Beatrice de Tenda.' The 
cadenza was sung without accompaniment; it 
covered two pages of music paper and was 
written in a style suited to an instrumental 
concerto. Towards the end there was a sequence 
jDf ascending and descending arpeggios of di- 
minished sevenths which flowed into a scale of 
trills from a low note to one of her highest; 
then, dwelling very long on that note and trilling 
on it, she gradually, tranquilly, returned to 


the theme of the cavatina, when it was perceived 
that her wonderfully fine musical ear had un- 
erringly guided her through the mazes of the 
long cadenza and brought her to the tonic note of 
the piece with surprising correctness of intona- 
tion. I think she was not overrated when called 
a ' great singer.' " 

As soon as Barnum saw what his " Nightin- 
■ gale " could do he oflFered to share with her all 
the proceeds above $5500 a night and pay her 
her stipulated $1000 a night beside. In this 
way her receipts from the tour which he man- 
aged for her were over $175,000 and his over 
$530,000. Nearly all her share she gave, as 
she gave practically all her money, to charity. 
Yet there was a close approach to a riot, — 
glass being smashed and many ladies fainting 
because of the great showman's bad faith, — at 
the Fitchburg Depot concert, and if " P. T." 
had not fled by carriage from his quarters at 
the Revere House and boarded the night train 
to New York from the suburbs he would have 
been roughly handled by the indignant mob 
whose money he had taken for standing room 
that didn't exist. 

The house in quaint Louisburg Square where 
Jenny Lind married her accompanist. Otto 
Goldschm! ' ":, is still standing. It was then the 
home of Samuel G. Ward, a well known Bos- 
tonian who was the local agent of Baring 


Brothers, the London bankers of that era, and 
the house with which the " Swedish Nightin- 
gale " did her business. In the Boston Courier 
of February 6, 1853, appears this brief notice of 
the wedding: 

" Although St. Valentine's Day has not quite 
reached us, yet the ' first bird of the season ' 
has already chosen her mate. The queen of 
song has committed matrimony. Jenny Lind 
is Jenny Lind no longer, but Mrs. Goldschmidt. 
In plain English, the following record was made 
yesterday on the books of the Boston city 

" ' Married in this city, at the residence of 
Mr. S. G. Ward, by Rev. Charles Mason, as- 
sisted by Rev. Dr. Wainwright of New York, 
the Swedish consul, Hon. Edward Everett, 
Mr. and Mrs. T. W. Ward, Mr. N. I. Bowditch, 
her legal adviser, and other friends. Otto 
Goldschmidt of Hamburg to Mile. Jenny Lind 
of Stockholm, Sweden.' 

" Mr. Goldschmidt has attended Jenny as her 
pianist for many months past. The match has 
taken everybody by surprise, though we must 
say that we were struck with something con- 
foundedly arch and roguish in the twinkle of 
her eye when she sang ' John Anderson, My 
Jo,' the last time she appeared in public in 
this city. Such, however, has been the discretion 
of the parties that it may have been a ' foregone 


eonclusion ' for years. The next song of the 
nightingale will, of course, be ' Home, Sweet 
Home.' May she live a thousand years and 
sing it every day." 

For one of her tours Jenny Lind engaged 
the orchestral services of the Germania Society, 
an organization which first came to this country 
in April, 1848, and in which William Schultze 
was long first violin and Carl Zerrahn first 
flute. This organization soon put in a whole 
season in Boston, giving twenty-four Saturday 
evening concerts and the same number of 
public rehearsals on Wednesday afternoons. 
It appears to have been the precursor of the 
Boston Symphony orchestra which, since 1880, 
has been generously maintained by Mr. Henry 
L. Higginson. It was with the Germania that 
the famous girl violinist, Camilla Urso, of 
whom a competent critic has said that she was 
one of the few young wonders who developed 
into great artists at maturity, travelled as a 

The red-letter musical event in the Boston 
of this period was the Peace Jubilee of 1869, 
organized and conducted by Patrick Sarsfield 
Gilmore, Carl Zerrahn acting as general musical 
director, Ole Bull and Carl Rosa playing first 
violin in an orchestra numbering one thousand 
pieces(!) the great singer, Parepa-Rosa, doing 
the soprano solo parts and Adelaide Phillips 


the contralto ones. Gilmore had himself been 
in the Civil War and the impulse to celebrate 
in festive fashion peace and the gathering of 
the Southern States back into the fold seems to 
have been a genuine one with him. But besides 
being a loyal Unionist and a respectable musi- 
cian he possessed great executive ability and so 
was able to inspire a large number of people 
with such belief in the success of his undertaking 
that they were willing to become its financial 
guarantors. Accordingly, a wooden building of 
good acoustic properties was erected on or near 
the site of the Old Art Museum, — a building 
capable of holding fifty thousand persons, in- 
cluding a chorus of ten thousand and the 
great orchestra already mentioned! 

The first question which arises in connection 
with this " monster " festival is — where did 
the ten thousand trained chorus singers come 
from.f* The answer is " from all over New 
England." This was the era of the " Yankee 
singing school " and of the so-called " musical 
conventions." On these latter occasions famous 
oratorios were usually given and young singers 
like Annie Louise Cary, — now Mme. Raymond, 
— found a favorable opportunity to begin their 
solo career. Nearly every oratorio worthy of 
mention was thus known, either entire or in 
part, to music lovers throughout New England. 
And nearly all these people were ready and 




































































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glad, after being carefully drilled by Mr. 
Zerrahn and his assistants in their home-towns, 
to come to Boston and help Mr. Gilmore make 
a Peace Festival. Of course real critics, like 
John S. D wight, loathed the whole thing and 
said so. (Dwight absolutely refused to endorse 
the Jubilee in the columns of his Journal of 
Music even when requested to do so by Oliver 
Ditson, his publisher. And he is said to have 
spent the whole week at Nahant, where the 
strident echoes of the affair could not reach 
him.) But several good men had a hand in the 
celebration none the less: J. K. Paine and 
Dudley Buck directed their own compositions; 
Eben Tourjee led, when " Nearer, My God, to 
Thee " and other hymns were sung, and Julius 
Eichberg wrote for this occasion his tuneful 
"To Thee, O Country" which has since be- 
come popular. 

The most marvellous thing about the whole 
Festival was that, although it cost $283,000 it 
paid for itself and showed a balance of nearly 
ten thousand dollars on the right side of the 
ledger! This, too, in spite of the fact that 
real cannon with artillery-men to set them 
off were used in the national airs, one hundred 
red-shirted firemen were drafted to bring out 
the staccato parts of the " Anvil Chorus," and 
all the professionals were paid for their services, 
Mrs. Abba Goold Woolson, who went to the 


Festival on one of its big days, sent back to the 
Concord, N. H., Monitor a sprightly account 
of this experience by means of which all who 
cared to might go with her " into the big tent." 
Here are some bits of her article: 

" Keeping fast hold of our checks, we walk 
down the broad, empty aisle to the balcony's 
edge, and look over into the parquet. What 
an immense expanse of people and benches 
spread below us; what a vast, lofty roof above, 
all awave with gay banners! Up there, at the 
right, is the organ, and the big drum, large and 
thin, towers before it — ' Let Us Have Peace,' 
on its head plainly visible. On the left of these 
sits the chorus ^ — -all men; on the right, a 
brighter throng — the women. Faces there 
are indistinguishable, of course. It might 
be called, indeed, a sea of humanity. . . . Down 
again, go our glances, into the parquet. How 
quietly the people have poured in; and how 
small they look! Among them all we noticed 
a large woman, escorted up the aisle. Her 
shawl of pale blue crepe, wrought with white 
flowers, her large bonnet, and her breadth 
of shoulders make us single her out from 
the throng. She turns into her seat; a 
glass shows the ruddy face of Mrs. Harrison 
Gray Otis, the city's guest. . . . There comes 
Gilmore himself forward to his position. How 
they applaud him! One glimpse of the red 


rose in his coat and his energetic bow, and he 
has whisked about on his stand, and his white 
gloves and baton are beating the air. Here 
comes the music. But we are not stunned. No 
louder than that? Now it bursts out strong 
enough. Still we are alive and still able to 
look about us calmly again when the piece is 
finished. The voices are full and rich and 
strong, but blent into strange softness, like 
the sound from the myriad waves of a distant 
sea. The Judgment Hymn and Janotti's Grand 
March, the first original music produced, rouse 
us more. The house is liberal with applause. 

" But now everybody begins to look for 
Parepa. She seems the chief attraction of the 
whole festival. They say, around us, that she 
is to come up the stairway, behind the great 
drum. All are watching. The applause starts 
up, there is a gleam of yellow silk, and the 
queenly woman appears, following her escort 
down through the narrow aisles to Gilmore's 
stand. At every step the enthusiastic welcome 
grows and rolls in a stormy tide to her feet. 
See, the conquering singer comes! She stands 
one step below Mr. Gilmore, drops her bouquet, 
adjusts her music, and is ready. We take note 
of the gorgeous yellow tunic, deeply flounced 
with black lace, the light, flowing skirt, and her 
superb physique, and noble head — when hark ! 
here come the notes, beginning the song from 


' Robert.' We wonder that we can hear 
them, how sweet, how soft, how clear, yet, too, 
how far off! The homage is wild when it is 
through. She sails out behind the drum again, 
in spite of it all, but it is of no use, she has to 
return, amid greater enthusiasm; but only to 
bow, she will not sing. 

" Now that Anvil Chorus is to come. The 
red-shirted firemen, who have been for the 
last half hour moving up and down the aisles, 
are all in their places, extending back on each 
side of the leader, fifty in a row. The music 
begins. Their hammers are held in air ready, 
but we see no anvils. Clang, comes the stroke, 
Gilmore's arms swing alternately up and down, 
and they obey them instantly, and cease in- 
stantly when he flings them back. Crash, the 
guns thunder over our heads. How it starts 
us all! The music pours out; the band, drums, 
bells and the chorus, the anvils and guns, all 
rolling multitudinously, make us wild. Hand- 
kerchiefs are in air, waving frantically. Hands 
clap and feet stamp, and canes pound the 
floor. Still the billows of melody roll on. It is 
almost too much to bear. We shiver as with 
cold, and feel like bursting into a torrent of 
tears. But we wink them back, and keep on 
waving fiercely. Over our heads, through the 
roof windows, pours the sulphurous smoke from 
the guns outside, and the roof shakes and jars. 


The plaudits are still more tempestuous when 
it is through. The proud firemen evidently 
think themselves the chief element of the suc- 
cess, and they attract all eyes from their pic- 
turesque look. It is all gone over again, and 
the audience seem to wish it might never 
cease. . . . Those artillerymen out there must 
be kept busy loading their twelve guns. They 
are two hundred feet oflf; yet we wish they were 
a little farther, for there is a reverberation 
against the roof, a jar of the building which is 
not pleasant. 

" When the national song is concluded, 
another storm of plaudits sets in, like that after 
the Anvil Chorus. All of us are insane again, 
and this time more so. We can scarcely keep 
from springing upon our seats and cheering. 
The men, here and there, do throw up their 
hats, and all break into an audible — what shall 
we call it.? — not a cheer, but a groan of delight 
that runs around the house. What a proud 
moment for Parepa, surely the proudest in 
her life. As this is her last song, she has taken a 
chair, and intends to spend the rest of the 
afternoon with us. Now she is bending over, 
talking to her husband, Carl Rosa, who sits 
among the violins on her right. Of course 
she has to rise and repeat, and now her last note 
dies away. After that Arbuckle's trumpet, and 
she applauded him heartily with her white kids. 


" ' The Harp that once through Tara's halls ' 
is sung by everybody and everything there, and 
is unspeakably sweet and satisfying. We hope 
the soul of Tom Moore is present to hear. But 
the audience are now tired of applauding. We 
all rise, as requested, at the last, for the Hun- 
dredth Psalm, but nobody seems to sing; all 
want to hear the chorus. 

" Then comes the end. Every note has died 
away along the pennoned rafters, and the 
breezes only are swaying the sunlit ban- 
ners. . . ." 

The second Jubilee, held in June, 1872, was 
to celebrate the World's Peace, — the Franco- 
Prussian War being then just over — and the 
thing " featured " was the band-work of various 
European nations. On this occasion Strauss, 
the composer, conducted his own waltzes and 
Madame Rudersdorf, a splendid singer of broad, 
classic, oratorio style, sang a number of solos. 
This Peace Jubilee did not pay but left a financial 
deficit which the sturdy Boston guarantors 
promptly made up with such grace as they could 

I have said that Jenny Lind gave away nearly 
all the money that she earned while in America. 
One favorite form of giving with her was 
towards the musical education of young girls 
who had talent. Among the beneficiaries of her 
kind heart was Adelaide Phillips, who had 


already been doing things in a singing way 
on the Museum stage for some years but who 
was desirous of pursuing her musical studies 
further and whom Jenny Lind graciously fitted 
out with a check for a thousand dollars and a 
letter of warm recommendation to her own 
instructor, Emanuel Garcia. ^ 

Additional help being given to Miss Phillips 
by that " grand, upright and square " man, 
Jonas Chickering, she left home (in 1852) with 
her father for England, where for two years she 
studied with Garcia, a brother of the immortal 
Malibran, and possessed, like his sister, of much 
magnetism and power. Before returning to the 
great success which awaited her in Boston Miss 
Phillips had a triumphal season in Italy, her 
wonderful voice, sympathetic acting and charm- 
ing presence uniting to bring her great applause 
wherever she was heard. But by 1855 she was 
back in her home city and, the following spring, 
she appeared with great success in Italian opera 
in Philadelphia and in New York. Her great 
role at this time was as Azucena in " II Trova- 
tore," then a new opera, in which Mile. Fillippi, 
as she was called, was obliged to create the part. 
She made this gypsy mother a tragic heroine, 
just as Charlotte Cushman did with Meg 
Merrilies, and her rendering of the character 
has remained the standard ever since. 

In oratorio Miss Phillips was no less successful 


than on the lyric stage. That was a great 
occasion when, on December 30, 1860, she made 
her first appearance before the Boston Handel 
and Haydn Society in the Messiah. " Her 
rendering of the impressive Aria, ' He was 
despised,' came not only with artistic power 
but from a devotional nature," Miss Phillips' 
last appearance with the Handel and Haydn 
Society was on November 24, 1878. She then 
sang, very appropriately, as it turned out, 
Verdi's " Requiem Mass." Two years later, 
she purchased the farm in Marshfield with 
which her name is now so touchingly associated 
and there, in 1882, she died, after a long struggle 
— against ill health — to keep up her work 
in the Ideal Opera Company, of which she was 
an important member. Like Charlotte Cush- 
man, with whom her career has several parallels, 
she was buried from King's Chapel, all Boston 
agreeing that " her private life was as pure and 
blameless as her works were grand and en- 

Ole Bull, whose widow, a charming American, 
still makes her home in Cambridge, was a very 
gifted violinist and a highly picturesque figure. 
Even in his old age his hair was heavy and 
long, and when he had finished playing it 
was always in artistic disarray. He was born 
in Bergen, Norway, just a hundred years ago, 
and he died, at the summer residence he had 


there set up, at the ripe age of seventy. Ole 
Bull seems to have possessed one quality very 
rare among musicians, — real delight in giving 
pleasure through his art. " It was not neces- 
sary," records Mrs. James T. Fields, " when 
he was to give his friends the favor of a visit, 
to suggest that he should bring his violin. He 
never failed to remember that he could find 
his fullest expression through that medium and 
when the proper moment arrived was always 
ready to contribute his large share to the 
pleasure of the time. There was a generosity 
about bestowing himself in private for others 
which was delightful. He was proud to give 
what he possessed. His friends cannot forget 
his manner of going and standing with his violin 
in the corner of the library, where, drawing up 
his fine figure to its full height and throwing 
back his head, he would stand silent until he 
was prompted to begin." It has been said in all 
seriousness that it was an impossibility for 
" the heroic Bull " to sit down and play. 



IT is a striking coincidence that three wives 
of Boston Otises should have been social 
queens in the real meaning of that word. 
The first Mrs. Harrison Gray Otis, who was 
described and pictured in the book preceding 
this one ^ occupied a prominent place in the 
republican court circles of her day as well as in 
Boston; for her husband succeeded Fisher 
Ames in Congress twenty years before he took up 
his duties as second Mayor of Boston. By the 
time Mr. Otis came to occupy the Boston 
position, indeed, his wife was in rather poor 
health, so that it was upon his young daughter- 
in-law, who had been born Emily Marshall, 
and had married his son, William Foster Otis, 
that the social duties of his home devolved. 
Of her charm and exquisite beauty mention 
was made in the earlier pages of the present 
volume. She died in the summer of 1836. 

Then, speedily, another Mrs. Otis, born 
Elizabeth Boardman, came to the front in 

* See Old Boston Days and Ways, p. 402. 


Boston society. This young woman had been 
a famous beauty and belle even before she 
married the young son and namesake of the 
then Mayor of Boston. She had received the 
most careful education and the finest culture 
that the best masters could give, and she had 
had the advantage of life in one of those Boston 
homes made luxurious and beautiful by the 
East India trade. So though the Otis family 
stood among the highest in the land, it hon- 
ored itself by an alliance with Elizabeth Board- 

Very early she was left a widow. And she 
seems for a time to have fulfilled the lively 
traditions of that state. According to the 
gossips of the day she numbered among her 
admirers men like Daniel Webster and Henry 
Clay as well as many others of less renown. 

Samuel Breck, who was in Mrs. Otis's own 
set, by birth, appears not to have approved of 
her at all. One finds among his notes (April 
12, 1832) this reference to her: " This lady, a 
widow and mother of five children and already 
of a certain age, has been displaying and flirting 
during the winter in Philadelphia and Wash- 
ington, giving the tone and assuming the lead. 
At Mrs. Lloyd's (Breck's Philadelphia sister) 
she foimd fault with the rooms; they were too 
small; she must have spacious parlors; her 
friends in Boston told her she must go home 


and build, and when she does broad and lofty 
rooms will gratify her vanity. 

" This lady-traveller," continues Breck tartly, 
" inherited about one hundred and fifty thou- 
sand dollars from her father, and is, for the 
rest, a light-hearted woman, not destitute of 
wit and smartness, and has been much attended 
to by the fashionable circles of our city. She 
is a little of a virago, too. It is said that in 
Boston she frequently visited on foot in the 
evening, always trusting to an Irish servant for 
protection on her return home, and of course 
declining the escort of the beaux who offered 
their services. Some of these were miffed at 
her refusal, and one evening waylaid her and 
her Irish squire in order to frighten them. 
She, seeing a man approach saucily, turned to 
the servant. ' John,' said she, ' knock that 
man down; ' upon which John knocked him 
down. This rough hint left her ever after un- 
molested." ^ 

Boston at this time was much too petty a 
place to suit Mrs. Otis, it is clear. She must 
have been very glad to sail off to Europe, in 
1835, and busy herself there with the education 
of her young sons and with her own further 
development along congenial lines. She was 
absent for about five years and when she came 
back, thrilling in every nerve with the joy of 

1 Recollections of Samuel Breck, p. 285. 


From the pmntitig hy G. P. A. Healy, in the possession of the 
Bostonian Society. 

Page 308. 

From the biist by Clevenger^ in the possession of the Howe family. 
Page 310. 


life and with desire to make herself felt in her 
native city, she found that she had quite a task 
ahead of her. For the social machinery of the 
time was exceedingly ponderous. And Boston 
loved its own limitations. 

An Englishman who was a resident in the 
town just before the middle of the nineteenth 
century has declared that everything essential 
to the most agreeable society existed there 
" with one exception and that is the spirit of 
sociability." Eating was the chief business of 
all gatherings, and Charles Dickens, who was 
here in 1842, observed, with thinly-veiled dis- 
gust, that at every dinner there was an enormous 
amount of poultry on the table " and at every 
supper, at least two mighty bowls of hot stewed 
oysters, in any one of which a half grown Duke 
of Clarence might be smothered easily." 

The Boston notion of cordial hospitality, in 
the forties, seems to have been inviting the 
stranger within their gates to occupy a place 
in the family pew at church. " I am afraid to 
say," says Dickens, " how many offers of pews 
and seats in church were made to us by' 
formal notes of invitation that morning of my 
arrival (which was on Sunday) . . . but at 
least as many sittings as would have accom- 
modated a score or two of grown up families ! " 
Not that Bostonians did not know how to be 
excellent hosts, when the spirit moved, or were 


blind to the lack of true hospitality when it 
exhibited itself in others. Mrs. Julia Ward 
Howe in her delightfully written Reminis- 
cences tells with sufficient point of the enter- 
tainment she and her husband received at the 
hands of the poet Wordsworth. After their 
letter of introduction had been presented a 
note came inviting them to take tea with the 
poet and his family that evening. When they 
arrived, however, the sole topic of conversation 
was a money loss the Wordsworths had recently 
sustained by an investment in American secur- 
ities, — and the tea to which they had been 
bidden proved to be merely a cup of tea served 
without a table. Yet even this meagre hos- 
pitality was lavish in comparison with that of 
the Bostonian who, in return for the cordial 
entertainment that had been offered him and his 
while in Europe invited his former hostess to 
call at his house on a Sunday evening after tea, 
at which time his wife and himself would go 
with her to church and give her a place in their 

It was such a society as this that Mrs. Harri- 
son Gray Otis attempted to humanize when, 
with European salons in mind, she threw her 
house open every Saturday afternoon and every 
Thursday evening to all her set — and many 
more. The stirring philanthropic interests of 
the day she embraced with ardor, and she soon 


proved that, where people of congenial tastes 
and real mental alertness are met together, 
there can be true hospitality on slender physical 
nutriment. For the " mighty bowls of hot 
stewed oysters " she substituted tea and cakes. 
And she even served " this and nothing more " at 
her home at the corner of Mt. Vernon and Joy 
Streets, during the week when she kept open 
house in celebration of the opening of the Boston 
and Montreal road and had President Fillmore 
and Lord Elgin among her guests! Mrs. Otis 
dared to be herself — always. 

When the spirit moved she even ventured to 
write a book, thus blandly disregarding those 
who would place all literary women beyond the 
pale. The Barclays of Boston is interesting 
reading by reason of its reflection of the social 
theories of its author. " From the first days 
of their marriage," it declares, " Mr. and Mrs. 
Barclay were always at home in the evening, 
cheerful and happy, and delighted to see pleasant 
faces around them. This being perfectly imder- 
stood, and also, from its great rarity, extremely 
appreciated, there was no lack of visitors. In- 
deed, no one can exaggerate the value of such 
a house as theirs had always been in a com- 
munity where so few are opened in the same 
way. They conferred a great social blessing on 
many who, having no ties of kindred, looked 
upon their fireside as an oasis in the desert; 


their house was, also, a resource for strangers; 
they received all the nobilities who passed 
through the city, and thereby derived a very 
signal advantage from foreign intercourse, which 
does a vast deal, in America, toward rubbing 
off the dust collected by describing, diurnally, 
the same circle of opinions and feelings. 

" Everything was in daily use in Mrs. Bar- 
clay's home; she had no one article of table 
equipage that was better than another, and 
this saved a world of trouble, time and temper, 
the two latter of dominant importance in all 
households; for, if there is a bit of porcelain 
that excels another, it is sure never to be forth- 
coming, in an American establishment, when it 
is most required. Her dinners were excellent, 
and served unpretendingly, she having no 
desire to ape foreign fashions with a few serv- 
ants, and to adopt the affectation of forcing 
three waiters to perform the service of thirty. 
If any shortcomings occurred, they were never 
perceived, or commented upon, simply because 
there was no ostentatious pretension. 

" Mr. Barclay, being eminently hospitable, 
invited his friends freely; his wife gave them a 
gracious welcome, and he a hearty one; and 
their guests were not confined to the prosperous 
and those who revelled in luxuries, but em- 
braced poor scholars, artists, and others, to 
whom a well-appointed repast was a boon 


indeed, and the charm of social intercourse a 
greater one still." 

It was, however, in the sanitary commission 
work of the Civil War period that Madame Otis, 
as she came to be called, contributed what was 
perhaps the greatest service of her life. But 
here again she did things in her own way 
regardless of what " society " might say. For 
when there was a chance to make five dollars 
for the Northern cause by selling a kiss to a 
sailor she sold the kiss. At the beginning of 
the war she had been asked to take charge of the 
Evans House, which had been turned over to 
the city of Boston for the soldiers' use, and she 
did this, as she did everything, with marked 
executive ability. Hundreds of thousands of 
dollars passed through her hands and she 
herself gave $50,000, as well as all her time, to 
this fund for the soldiers. It is said that she 
never missed a day at her post throughout the 
war, never bought a new gown during that 
period and usually walked to the office to save 
cab hire. It was she, too, who, by opening her 
house for a public reception each Washington's 
Birthday, drew public attention to the desira- 
bility of making that day a national holiday. 
The honoring of Washington particularly ap- 
pealed to her and she worked for it in many 
ways. She helped secure funds for the purchase 
of Thomas Ball's equestrian statue of Washing- 


ton; ^ and for the purchase of Washington's 
tomb at Mt. Vernon she gave a ball at the 
Boston Theatre, on March 4, 1859, which is 
chronicled as being " more splendid in its array 
of fair women and brave men, and nobler in its 
purpose than anything which has ever preceded 
it." This affair netted ten thousand dollars. 

It was for the Boston Theatre ball of a year 
later, — that given in 1860 to the then Prince 
of Wales, the late Edward VII of England, — 
that Mrs. Otis's mantua-makers designed for 
her the famous gown of old lace and purple 
velvet shown in the life-size portrait of her by 
George P. A. Healy herewith reproduced. 

The first waltz ever danced on an American 
floor had for its participants Mrs. Harrison 
Gray Otis and Lorenzo Papanti. Since the 
annals of Boston society were for years bound 
up with the dancing academy of the Papantis, 
— father and son, — we may well enough pause 
here to consider this man's romantic career. 
Scion of a noble house of Colonna, Lorenzo 
Papanti, because a younger son, became an 
oflBcer in the royal guard of the Duke of Tus- 
cany as a means to making his own way in 
the world. While in this capacity he com- 
mitted a political misdemeanor which soon 
obliged him to flee his native land in the night. 

1 Characterized by Wendell Phillips as a "riding-master on a, 
really good horse, heroically staring up Commonwealth Avenue." 



From a photograph in the possession of Franklin Haven Sargent, 
Nen^ York. 

Page 310. 

rage 353. 



With barely time to get letters of introduction 
and to take clothing, — in which he did not 
fail to include his full court regalia, however, — 
he made his way to the old frigate Ironsides, the 
officers of which, knowing his story, took him 
aboard as a member of their band. In Boston 
he presented his letters and for a time eked out 
a scanty livelihood playing in the orchestra of 
the Boston Theatre. Then, with the help of his 
society friends, he founded Papanti's dancing 
academy. For a long term of years the little 
assembly room at 23 Tremont Street, opposite 
the old Boston Museum, was the scene of many 
juvenile trials and youthful triumphs. For 
there the two Papantis, father and son, succes- 
sively taught little slippered feet to glide and 
not stumble, and awkward but well-meaning 
Boston youths how to bear themselves with 
courtly grace. Hundreds of memories centre 
about the tall spare man who there called out 
his directions over his violin bow and who 
was never visible save in the impressive elegance 
o'f a dress coat and a well-fitting curly wig. 

But though Papanti was teaching Boston's 
young people to dance, social life was still very 
simple in the quaint old city. Few people went 
away in summer, previous to 1850, and those 
who did strayed not further than Nahant, 
which Tom Appleton had wittily dubbed 
" cold roast Boston." Many parts of Boston 


were still green with gardens, and in the 
softly cool evenings of September people sat 
on their front door-steps after the early tea 
necessitated by the one o'clock dinner and 
perhaps sang together to the accompa;niment of 
a guitar. On " the Fourth " the leading women 
of the city stood on their own house-balconies 
and enjoyed the floral processions directed by 
Rev. Charles Barnard of what was then the 
Warren Street Chapel. Life was simple for the 
most part. Girls walked to parties in couples 
and young men " saw them home." This was 
not a lengthy or involved process. For Boston 
was a city every part of which was then within 
ten minutes of every other part. 

Arlington Street was considered " very far 
out." Even as late as 1860 everything relating 
to the Back Bay was so new that, for a long 
time, Dr. Gannett's church, just beyond the 
Public Garden, was referred to as " the Federal 
Street Society's new edifice." It was in one 
of the grand mansions on Arlington Street 
that a reception was held one evening for 
Fanny Kemble, to whicli Mrs. Stowe went in 
the simple little black gown which she had worn 
on a train-journey made for the purpose of 
spending the day with her friend, Mrs. Fields. 
Mrs. Kemble was in an elaborate costume of 
purple and silver brocade, but Mrs. Stowe's 
black stuff gown passed in the crowd all right. 


Which would seem to prove that such things 
occasionally happened. 

Mrs. George Ticknor ruled as a " social 
queen " in the famous house at the head of 
Park Street at which Lafayette had stayed in 
1824. Mrs. Kate Gannett Wells, who remem- 
bers vividly the gracious hospitality exercised 
in this hospitable mansion by the wife of the 
Spanish historian, declares that the one Boston 
woman — with the exception of Emily Marshall 
— upon whom the appellation of social queen 
may rightly be bestowed is Mrs. Ticknor. 
" From the beginning of her married life imtil 
her death she was a queen. There was only 
one Mrs. Ticknor, by implication, and greatly 
honored were those who had access to her 
house, — to the parlor and to the library 
upstairs, the throne room as it were. There 
she and Mr. Ticknor received nightly. About 
half-past nine the waiter brought in a tray of 
cakes and ices, sometimes cakes only. The 
nobility and the scholars of Europe met there 
as nowhere else. Prescott, Motley, G. S. Hillard 
were often to be seen. I have never seen any 
society equal to what was there, quiet cordiality 
shading off into degrees of welcome, high-bred 
courtesy in discussion and courtly grace of 
movement. Politics were discussed, never scan- 
dal. The basis of life was character and litera- 
ture, its usage was good English and deferential 


manners. As years passed on the daughter, 
Anna, founded (in 1873) the ' Society To En- 
courage Study at Home,' which was all done by 
correspondence. It was study at home for 
home. No one ever posed or worked for a 
career. Mrs. Ticknor was actively interested 
in the health of the students and it was 
all wonderful and graceful. But the annual 
meetings at her house were never held in 
the library. That was for the intimate circle 
of the elect." 

As soon as Mrs. Howe — who in 1844 had 
gone with her husband. Dr. Samuel Gridley 
Howe, to live in the vicinity of the institution 
the noble doctor was carrying on in South 
Boston for the education of the blind — took 
up a Boston residence she, too, by virtue of 
her wit and charm became a " social queen," 
a distinction which she enjoys even today at 
the advanced age of ninety-one! The few who 
were really her intellectual kindred had, of 
course, journeyed faithfully to South Boston 
to see her. None the less, she discovered 
and wittily remarked that " in Boston Love 
crosses a bridge but Friendship stops at the 
Common." When there was no longer a bridge 
to cross Mrs. Howe's drawing-room, at 13 
Chestnut Street, became a favorite gather- 
ing-place for choice varieties of the genus 
Bostonian. It was while living here — though 


she was in Washington and not Boston at 
the time — that Mrs. Howe wrote her " Battle 

This house must always be chiefly associated, 
however, with Mrs. John T. Sargent and her 
assembly of TranscendentaUsts. Charles 
Lamb's remark about the fat woman seated in 
the doorway that " it was a shrewd zephyr 
that could escape her " had its application to 
the person of distinction who could get in — 
and out — of Boston without going to the 
Radical Club. Not that Mrs. Sargent per- 
secuted her lions or tracked them worryingly to 
their lairs. Instead she made her house on the 
Monday when the Radical Club was meeting 
there a resort so intellectually stimulating that 
no one wished to escape. The Radical Club 
had its origin in the spring of the year '67 in 
the growing desire of certain ministers and lay- 
men for larger liberty of faith, fellowship and 
conmnmion. It had no formal organization 
and its members represented all religious de- 
nominations. The Club's first meeting was held 
at 17 Chestnut Street, the residence of Rev. 
Cyrus Bartol, and for a time it oscillated between 
that number and thirteen. But it never went 
outside of Chestnut Street and it soon came to 
regard the roomy parlor of Mrs. Sargent's 
home as its permanent headquarters. Then 
it grew in fame and numbers until at its 


closing session in 1880,^ nearly two hundred 
were present. 

A journalist once remarked that the primary 
distinction of this club was that it survived 
for years without a kitchen. In other words it 
had a real reason for being. But it would be 
difficult to say how much of its success the club 
owed to Mrs. Sargent and to the gentle stimulus 
of the home in which it met. One habitue 
has spoken of the beautiful old harp in the 
corner of the spacious parlors and, on the 
wall, the life-size picture of Mr. Sargent's 
mother playing upon it; of the Gobelin tapestry 
and other famous relics of Paris's splendor and 
sorrow during the sad days of 1789. All the 
furnishings of the old parlors came originally 
from the Tuileries and were sent over by Col. 
James Swan, an ancestor of the Sargents, 
and the close friend and financial agent of the 
nobility and royalty in France. Two ships 
were loaded with these furnishings the purpose 
in sending them being to equip suitable dwelling 
places in America for many of the nobility who 
were to escape from France and take temporary 
harbor here. The plan miscarried and the con- 
tents of the first ship found their way, long after- 
wards, to the parlor of the house on Chestnut 

* Mrs. Sargent died at the New York residence of her son, Frank- 
lin Haven Sargent, May 31, 1904, aged 77. 

M >i 





, !~7r| :' 



' - 




Page 333. 


There they formed the background for the 
most extraordinary gatherings ever held in 
an American city. Merely to name those who 
read papers, contributed to the discussion or 
sat quietly listening during the sessions of the 
Radical Club would be to call again the roll of 
the New England intellectuals. Emerson, who 
was quite a regular attendant at the beginning 
of the club's career, stopped going as soon as 
the meetings were opened to the press because 
he had an unconquerable aversion to being 
reported. He never could be brought to believe 
that interest had anything to do with the desire 
to know of the deliberations of the club; he set 
it all down to an improper curiosity which 
ought to be snubbed instead of humored. But 
those who were then reporters became later 
very distinguished in literature. Louise Chan- 
dler Moulton, whose brilliant accounts of the 
club's activities, published in the New York 
Tribune, did much to increase its fame and 
influence, Nora Perry, Grace Greenwood, Frank 
Sanborn, Samuel Bowles and Kate Field, all of 
whom helped the public to understand what 
the club was about. Frank Sanborn's address 
on the very modern subject of the newspaper 
is delightful reading as sketched in Mrs. Sar- 
gent's little volume, Reminiscences of the Radi- 
cal Club. Mostly, however, the topics discussed 
were much more abstruse than this. 


In 1873 the club gave a reception for Emerson 
and around the bright wood fire were gathered, 
among others, Whittier, Longfellow, Wendell 
Phillips, and the elder Henry James. Occasion- 
ally a big memorial festival would be held at 
the club, as on the occasion when Carl Schurz, 
Longfellow, James Freeman Clarke and many 
more assembled at a meeting in honor of 
Charles Sumner who had just passed away. 
Many eloquent and incisive things were said; 
but it is Whittier's quaint remark that gets 
quoted in connection with the affair, for, upon 
being asked to add his tribute he replied that 
he had no skill in speaking and that the idea 
of saying anything after all those delightful 
reminiscences reminded him of the dying peti- 
tion of the captain of the Dumfries rifles, 
" Don't let the awkward squad fire a salute over 
my grave." 

Even when the club was not in session choice 
spirits assembled in these famous old parlors. 
Franklin Haven Sargent of New York has told 
me of his boyish memories of those childhood 
days when everybody of distinction in the world 
of art and literature sought out his sweet 
mother in her' Chestnut Street home: "the 
Longfellow brothers, so quiet and gentle; Walt 
Whitman with his shaggy hair and ruddy 
face, who called me,-as did Charlotte Cushman, 
* the young Greek.' Miss Cushman was a 


great friend of my mother's. I remember her 
as a devoted whist player and tiring to me 
because I had to wait while she and my parents 
and William I. Bowditch played cards evenings. 

" Kate Field, — strong-minded, — I liked be- 
cause she was of the theatre; Anna Dickinson, 
so awfully herself and badly dressed, a great 
chum of my father's; John Weiss, the nearest 
to genius of them all except — Emerson — so 
abstract yet human, sweet and deep. The sight 
of his regularly failing memory and faculties 
was painful. Colonel Higginson, gentleman 
and rhetorician, par excellence; my father, of the 
good old school, above all the gentleman; Mary 
Mapes Dodge, my mother's closest friend, 
brimming over with human nature and jokes. 
. . . One night, to my mother's dismay, the 
Chinese professor at Harvard stayed, after the 
others had gone, imtil 2 a.m.; finally, in des- 
peration, she offered him a cup of tea — and 
one sip and he was gone — the Chinese con- 
vention. — ... And more than anyone else I 
remember Wendell Phillips, my father's dearest 
friend, a wonderful orator and talker whom 
I revered for the martyrdom he had been 
through, a fanatic, but the most honest man I 
ever knew." 

Such were some of those whom Mrs. Sargent 
drew about her fireside at 13 Chestnut Street. 
Certainly, she deserves a place among the social 


queens of the period. For she was the only 
woman who succeeded, durmg the most briUiant 
phase of Boston's life, in bringing together and 
holding its picked representatives of both sexes. 
And this she seems to have accomplished not 
so much by the possession of a brilliant mind as 
by virtue of that far greater gift, a warm and 
loving woman-heart. 



IN the early days of New England ^ the 
tavern or " ordinary," was very closely 
connected with the meeting-house. At 
the time this relation was a necessary one, for 
it was only by thawing out at a tavern, before 
and after church, that human nature could pre- 
pare for and recover from the long dry sermons 
given in an unheated meeting-house. Was it 
because there was so much thought of a fiery 
hereafter in the religion of long-ago, I wonder, 
that the setting for devotional exercise was 
never a warm place .f* Or was it all merely a 
quiet arrangement to benefit the tavern-keeper.? 
Certainly, the discomforts of staging bene- 
fited the tavern-keeper. And the shrewd 
Yankees who started our early stage lines were 
not long in setting up, at convenient intervals 
along their routes, houses which in fact as well 
as on their sign-boards dispensed " refreshment 
for man and beast." Some who are always 
sighing for " the good old times " like, even in 
this twentieth century, to linger upon the 

1 See Among Old New England Inns, 


chairns of stage-coach days, the picturesque 
driver skilfully controlling his four handsome 
horses and heralding his approach by the wind- 
ing of a bugle, the bustle of interest as the stage 
arrived at each new village and the lure of 
shady roads with their fascinating vista of 
ever-changing horizon. Yet there were many 
disagreeable things about staging. Though 
Longfellow could spin such " Tales of The Way- 
side Inn " as to make us fairly ache for a share 
in the life of that hostelry, in prose, he thus 
refers to his first acquaintance with the place: 
" The stage left Boston about three o'clock in 
the morning, reaching the Sudbury Tavern for 
breakfast, a considerable portion of the route 
being travelled in total darkness and without your 
having the least idea who your companions 
might be ! " 

Samuel Breck tells us that, early in the 
nineteenth centui-y, he was sometimes nine days 
going from New York to Boston.^ Yet Breck 
lived to look back on these as " good old times." 
For the forced familiarity of the railroad trains 
was very distasteful to him. We find him 
writing, on July 22, 1835, " This morning at 
nine o'clock I took passage in a railroad car 
from Boston for Providence. Five or six other 
cars were attached to the ' loco ' and uglier 

» Of. Journey of Madam Knight in Among Old New England 

O m 






rase :ur,. 

Page 353. 


boxes I do not wish to travel in. They were huge 
carriages made to stow away some thirty 
human beings who sit cheek by jowl as best 
they can. Two poor fellows, who were not 
much in the habit of making their toilet, 
squeezed me into a corner, while the hot sun 
drew from their garments a villainous compound 
of smells made up of salt fish, tar, and molasses. 

" By and by, just twelve — only twelve — 
bouncing factory girls were introduced, who 
were going on a party of pleasure to Newport. 
* Make room for the ladies,' bawled out the 
superintendent. ' Come, gentlemen, jump up 
on the top; plenty of room there.' * I'm afraid 
of a bridge knocking my brains out,' said a 
passenger. Some made one excuse and some 
another. . . . The whole twelve were, however, 
introduced and soon made themselves at home 
sucking lemons and eating green apples." 

And then, nothing being more difficult to 
sympathize with, on a railroad train, than 
your fellow-passenger's desire to eat fruit, 
Breck proceeds to give expression to the pent-up 
snobbery of his soul: " The rich and the poor, 
the educated and the ignorant, the polite and 
the vulgar, all herd together in this modern 
improvement in travelling. . . . Steam, so use- 
ful in many respects, interferes with the comfort 
of travelling, destroys every salutary distinction 
in society, and overturns by its whirligig power 


the once rational, gentlemanly and safe way of 
getting along on a journey. 

" Talk of ladies on board a steamboat or in a 
railroad car! There are none. I never feel 
like a gentleman there. . . . To restore herself 
to her caste, let a lady move in select company 
at five miles an hour and take her meals in 
comfort at a good inn. . . . The old-fashioned 
way, with one's own horses and carriages, with 
liberty to dine decently in a decent inn and be 
master of one's movements, with the delight of 
seeing the country and getting along rationally, 
that is the mode to which I cling." As a clinch- 
ing argument Mr. Breck might have quoted, 
and still been in character, the remark of that 
old-school blood who thus summarized his 
resentment of the railway as an institution: 
" You got upset in a coach — and there you 
were! You get upset in a rail-car and, damme, 
where are you? " 

Josiah Quincy, who made the journey to 
New York by stage in 1826 in the company of 
Judge Story, thought himself very fortunate 
to reach his destination (travelling only in the 
" day-time ") on the fourth day in time for a 
late dinner. " The stage left Boston at 3 a. m. 
and at 2 A. M. a man was sent around to the 
houses of those who were booked for the passage. 
His instructions were to knock, pull the bell, 
and shout and disturb the neighborhood as 


much as possible, in order that the person who 
was to take the coach might be up and dressed 
when it reached his door. When the coach 
arrived there was no hght inside and passengers 
waited until daybreak before they could see 
who were their fellow passengers." 

Even as late as 1835 going to New York by 
stage was a good deal of an undertaking and for 
at least a fortnight in advance would be a sub- 
ject of much conversation on the part of the 
intending traveller and his friends. Then the 
adventurous one would go to the stage office 
at 7 Elm Street, engage a seat for his journey 
and leave word for the stage to call at his home 
for him. The following evening at 7.30 the 
old vehicle would come lumbering up to his 
door and his trunk would be strapped on the 
rack behind. This process and the return trip 
to the office for the mail occupied until 10 p. m. 
when the stage would really set out on its jour- 
ney. One who took the trip in the month of 
February, 1835, has thus described it: 

" We left the stage office on time, five pas- 
sengers on the inside. The route out of the 
city was through Elm, Hanover, Court, Cam- 
bridge and Charles Streets over the Milldam. 
The Milldam commenced at Arlington Street 
and ran over what is now called Beacon Street 
as far as Brookline Avenue. The toll-gate was 
located about opposite the foot of Clarendon 


Street. Then out through BrookHne, Brighton 
and Newton we travelled, stopping at the 
tavern to change horses, which was done every 
ten or twelve hours of the journey. 

" After riding all night — and a bitter cold 
night it was and snowing fast — we arrived at 
the town of Sturbridge on the Worcester turn- 
pike. Here we had breakfast. At this place 
we changed from wheels to runners. At noon 
we reached Hartford, Connecticut, and had a 
good hot dinner. From here the sleighing 
became poor. Many times during the evening 
the gentlemen had to get out and walk. Ar- 
rived at New Haven for supper — another wild 
night. We had our breakfast at a tavern on the 
old Boston Post Road. Every time the stage 
stopped for a change of horses or for meals the 
gentlemen went for something in the shape of 
hot toddy, the price of which was three cents. 
. . . The price of meals was: breakfast and 
supper twenty-five cents each — dinner 37j 
cents. You could make the latter price by 
paying a quarter and ninepence, which was 
twelve and a half cents. Most of the taverns 
set a good table with plenty of food well cooked. 

" On arriving in New York we drove through 
the Bowery, Chatham Street, Broadway, Cort- 
land Street to the stage house, arriving at noon 
having been thirty-eight hours on our journey. 
The fare, including meals, was $17,50. Tired 


and lame we were, too, when the trip was 

How greatly the coming of the railroad 
facilitated travel to New York is seen by the 
fact that, in 1839, persons wishing to make 
the journey could leave Boston for Providence 
(in all but the winter months) at four o'clock 
in the afternoon, taking the steamer immedi- 
ately upon arriving in the Rhode Island city 
and get into New York at eleven the next 
morning. The total expense, including supper 
and stateroom, was now $7.00, a saving of 
$10.50 over the cost of that trip which, in 
1835, made our friend " tired and lame." 

The ramifications of the stage coach as a 
commercial institution were, however, so varied 
and so numerous that, for a long time, it was 
quite the custom to talk of the " calamity of 
railways." The Boston Traveller encouraged 
this cordially, for it was a " stage coach paper," 
issued on Tuesdays and Fridays (beginning in 
1825), for the express purpose of giving all the 
latest news about stage routes. How large a 
volume of patronage the stage coach as an 
institution commanded may be judged from 
the fact that, in 1832, there were ninety-three 
lines of stages running out of Boston. Time 
tables and stage lists were issued by Badger 
and Porter from 1825 to 1836, and all this time 
the Eastern Stage Company, a consoUdation 


of stage coach interests, was doing an enormous 
business in coach-making and blacksmithing 
as well as in its stages and taverns. Moreover, 
the taverns in the cities no less than in the 
country towns were, in many cases, owned by 
those who controlled stock in the stage lines. 
One chronicler tells us that " the taverns of 
Boston were the original business exchanges; 
they combined the Counting- House, the Ex- 
change Office, the Reading-room and the Bank. 
Each represented a locality. 

" To the Lamb Tavern . . . people went 
' to see a man from Dedham ' — it was the 
resort of all from Norfolk County. The old 
Eastern Stage House in Ann Street was fre- 
quented by ' down Easters,' captains of vessels, 
formerly from the Penobscot and Kennebec; 
there were to be seen groups of sturdy men 
seated round an enormous fire-place, chalking 
down the price of bark and lumber, and shippers 
bringing in a vagrant tarpaulin to ' sign the 
articles.' To the Exchange CoflFee House re- 
sorted the nabobs of Essex County; here those 
aristocratic eastern towns, Newburyport and 
Portsmouth, were represented by ship owners 
and ship builders, merchants of the first class." 

The Lamb Tavern here referred to was on 
the site of the present Adams House and its 
sign is mentioned as early as 1746 in the books 
written by foreign visitors to Boston. In later 

Page 361. 



days it was kept by Laban Adams, father of 
" Oliver Optic " Adams. Near by, on Hayward 
Place, Jamous today as the resort of Bohemian 
diners-out, was another noted inn called the 
White Horse. 

In the nineteenth century, however, the 
unique claim to a picturesque cognomen and 
sign-board belonged to the Indian Queen on 
Bromfield Street, This was a noted stage tavern 
and it was kept — till 1816 — by Isaac Trask 
and afterwards by his widow Nabby. Then it 
began to be called the Bromfield House. One 
of its landlords was Simeon Boyden, father of 
Dwight Boyden, the first landlord of the 
Tremont House, and of Frederic Boyden, one 
of the early landlords of the Astor House, New 
York. Subsequently the Bromfield House was 
kept by Preston Shepard (1823) who was, in 
turn, followed as a landlord by the Crocketts, 
father and son. 

Mrs. Kate Gannett Wells has written charm- 
ingly ^ of the entertainment which used to be 
ofiEered in this picturesque old hostelry: 

" In the days of the Crocketts, Col. Selden 
Crockett and his son S. Frank Crockett (1844- 
1869), its great courtyard was renowned for the 
vehicles of all kinds which drove into it from 
the suburbs and the city proper. In this yard 
was a wonderful well, concerning which Mr. 

1 In the New England Magazine of January, 1893. 


Sumner, a provision dealer of great local fame 
for his fresh and salted meats, always declared 
that ' one bucket of water from Crockett's 
well made better brine than two buckets of 
Cochituate.' The hotel also had a cupboard, 
which answered all the purposes of a bar; for 
in those days one might as well have a house 
without a roof as a hotel without a bar; but 
it was abandoned long before the hotel was 

" Mrs. Crockett herself presided over all 
internal affairs, with a mattonly grace and old- 
fashioned New England order. Neither French 
dishes nor ' ambiguous entrees ' ever garnished 
the table. Dinners such as these were given — 
boiled salt fish with pork scraps, hashed calf's 
head and dropped eggs, corned beef and cabbage, 
cottage pudding and cranberry pie! . . . Once 
New York's Fifth Avenue Hotel was obliged 
to submit to serving Col. Crockett's original 
baked beans and brown bread, steaming hot, 
for a party of Boston merchants, who when in 
New York, ordered them to be sent on for their 
Sunday breakfast from the Bromfield House 
by the Saturday night train, protected by 
close coverings. 

i " Col. Crockett often stood at his front door 
on Bromfield Street welcoming his guests and 
leading them to the dining room where he 
carved. He was a man of undeviating honor, 


true patriotism, and quick kindliness, ' a good 
man to tie to ' as many a one said who sought 
his aid. This house was the dinner centre of 
the old-fashioned Jacksonian Democracy, Frank- 
lin Pierce, Caleb Gushing . . , Hon. George 
S. Hillard and many others were constantly 
there; even Governor Andrew said that the 
best relief he obtained from his duties at 
the State House was the mid-day dinner at 
Col. Crockett's. At the farewell dinner, April 
7, 1869, when the house was closed forever, 
B. P. Shillaber wrote an ode called ' The Old 
Bromfield House ' which was sung to the tune 
of 'Auld Lang Syne.'" 

With the introduction of the " hourlies " 
several hotels quite near Boston came to be 
well known, among them the old Norfolk House, 
which stood on the site of the present Norfolk 
House in Eliot Square, Roxbury. This was 
the first public house in the vicinity and it was 
the terminus of a very profitable line of " bus- 
ses." Previous to the inception of this enter- 
prise (in 1826) the stage coaches on the various 
roads running out of Boston had been the 
only regular means of public conveyance by 
which a person could get from one part of the 
city to another or from the city to its immediate 
suburbs. But in the same year that Brooks 
Bowman was inspired to set up this service 
for Roxbury Stephen Wiley established a similar 


line to Charlestown and Ebenezer Kimball a 
line to East Cambridge. Ere long many such 
coaches were plying between Boston and the 
suburbs. Boston was connected with South 
Boston, then a favorite residential section, by 
a single coach which made six trips each day, 
Sundays excepted. Its Boston headquarters 
were at the Washington Coffee House, which 
stood on Washington Street, near Milk Street, 
and its route over the Dover Street Bridge. 
Men did not use the " hourlies " much, their 
principal patrons being women or old and 
infirm persons. The fare was twelve and a 
half cents each way for a long time, but by 1853 
the line to the Norfolk House, of which H. 
King was then proprietor, advertised a coach 
every seven and a half minutes during week- 
days at a fare of six cents. 

The " Governor Brooks," an omnibus drawn 
by four horses and having seats for eighteen 
passengers inside and for six outside, began in 
1835 to run regularly from Winnisimmet Ferry 
at the foot of Hanover Street to Roxbury, 
two and a half hours being allowed for the 
round trip and the price of a single passage 
being twelve and a half cents. In 1846 Messrs. 
Hobbs and Prescott started the Dock Square 
and Canton Street line, which was purchased 
in 1851 by J. H. Hathorne. 

For a long time Cambridge had only half 


hour omnibus service with no conveyance 
leaving Boston after twelve o'clock at night. 
A story is told in this connection which shows 
the kindness as well as the shrewdness of 
President Walker. ^ He had been attending a 
committee meeting of the Historical Society, 
held at the house of Chief Justice Shaw on 
Mount Vernon Street, and found that he had 
only just time to catch the last omnibus out. 
Just as he and Rev. George E. Ellis, with whom 
he was walking, reached the head of Brattle 
Street, the coach's starting-place, the president 
said suddenly, " I think I will walk to Cam- 
bridge. There may be some young men in the 
omnibus who would. rather not see me at this 

Colonel Higginson has told of sundry narrow 
escapes from " nautical eminence " experienced 
by him and James Russell Lowell when — 
while walking back to Cambridge on dark 
nights together, after hearing Emerson lecture 
— they would be hailed from the river by 
seamen in search of those who could pilot their 
craft up the Charles. For there were no lights 
across the intervening space and Boston and 
Cambridge were then very far apart — at 
night. Up to 1856 toll was charged passengers 
on this bridge, one cent for those on foot 
and " fourpence " for all vehicles. A favorite 

> President of Harvard 1853-1860. 


sport with Harvard students was " running 

The Stackpole House, which stood at the 
corner of Milk and Devonshire Streets, was 
another famous resort. Originally a private 
house it was an imposing, Colonial building 
with a hospitable front hall running through 
its centre and spacious rooms on each side. 
It rejoiced in a front yard which contained 
two gigantic chestnut trees under which, on 
summer evenings, guests might be seen smoking 
real Havana cigars at three cents apiece and 
drinking such beverages as they might prefer 
at fourpence. A chained bear often disported 
himself in this yard and now and then a peacock 
strutted up and down airing his gorgeous tail 
and giving color to the scene. Other Boston 
hostelries of the olden days were the Mansion 
House, the Pearl Street House, the Commercial 
Coffee House, — where the Exchange Club 
now is, — Wilde's, Doolittle's and the Elm 
Street House. Most of these had courtyards 
paved with cobble stones and were favorite 
taverns with stage travellers. 

At the Marlborough House, which long stood 
on Washington Street between Bromfield and 
Winter Streets (and was famous as a temperance 
hotel), Gen. Lafayette was entertained in 1824 
with a banquet at which a distinguished com- 
pany was present. Nathaniel Rogers was the 


proprietor here beginning in 1836, and on his 
parlor wall was this printed regulation: 
" Family worship to be attended every morning 
and evening. No intoxicating liquors to be 
sold or used in the house. No money to be 
received at the office on the Sabbath nor will 
any company be received on that day except 
in cases of necessity. Cold and warm baths 
are provided here for the accommodation of 
boarders and a vegetable diet for those who 
prefer it. The best efforts are promised by the 
landlord to furnish the table with the products 
of free labor. Smoking of cigars not allowed 
on any part of the premises." 

This prohibition of liquor, tobacco and the 
products of slave labor made the Marlborough 
very popular with the anti-slavery people, 
most of whom regarded smoking as well as 
tippling and slave owning as a crime. Which 
reminds me of a story that Julian Haw- 
thorne ^ tells to illustrate his contention that 
his uncle, Horace Mann, had a vacuum where 
his sense of humor should have been. Haw- 
thorne, the romancer, had once admitted in 
Mann's presence that he occasionally smoked 
a cigar, whereupon the reformer, greatly ex- 
cited, said, " Did I understand you to say, 
Mr. Hawthorne, that you actually use to- 
bacco? " 

* In Hawthorne and His Circle. 


" Yes, I smoke a cigar once in a while," was 
the comfortable reply. 

Horace Mann could not keep his seat. 
He started and paced the room menacingly. 
His high admiration for Hawthorne's genius 
and his deep affection for him as a man were 
obviously greatly shaken by this admission. 
But the need of being true to his colors at any 
cost was upon him and he soon said, in an 
agitated voice: " Then, Mr. Hawthorne, it is 
my duty to tell you that I no longer have the 
same respect for you that I have had." With 
which he turned and strode from the contamina- 
ting presence of an occasional smoker. 

Among the inns mentioned in Bowen's Boston 
Guide for 1833 are the Exchange Coflfee House, 
kept by Hart Davenport, with accommodation 
for one hundred and thirty guests and the price 
of board and lodging one dollar a day, seven 
dollars a week, and two hundred and sixty 
dollars a year. It is stipulated that " annual 
boarders " shall make express agreements with 
the proprietor and that all lodgers shall try to 
be in by eleven o'clock, the " retiring hour." 
The Commercial Coffee House, on Milk Street 
near Liberty Square, is referred to as the 
stopping place of " some Providence and hourly 
stages " and the City Tavern (Doolittle's) as 
the point of departure for " Salem, Gloucester 
and other stages." The Merchants' Hotel, 42 









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Hanover Street, is the headquarters of the 
" Providence and northward stage," and the 
Eastern Stage House at 84 Ann Street is the 
terminus of the hne after which it had been 
named. On Howard Street flourished " Kil- 
burn's (formerly Holland's Coflfee House); " at 
158 Washington Street the Washington Coffee 
House, kept by Lewis Boutell; " on Washington 
Street, opposite Boylston Market, the Lafayette 
Hotel kept by Mr. S. Haskell; " and on Wash- 
ington Street, near Essex, . the Liberty Tree 
Tavern of which one G. Cummings appears to 
have been the proprietor. 

The naive advertisements of some of these 
houses are quite entertaining. The New Eng- 
land Coffee House was inordinately proud of 
the fact that it had water on its fourth story 
" by hydraulic pressure " and that the entire 
house was lighted by gas. In the Boston Adver- 
tiser of September 1, 1831, 1 find a notice of the 
Julien House, 67 Congress Street, which informs 
the public that it is kept by "Miss Sarah 
Hawks and Company " and that " Gentlemen 
and ladies from the country who are in pursuit 
of board and pleasant situation will be thank- 
fully received." But the prestige of the stage 
inn is fading fast now, for six months later 
(in March, 1831) one comes, in the Advertiser 
files, upon an editorial endorsement of a petition 
for a railroad to Worcester which has been 


signed by H. G. Otis, Joseph Coolidge, Israel 
Thorndike, Henry Sargent, Horace Gray, F. J. 
Oliver and Robert G. Shaw. This paper was 
not particularly dependent upon stage-coach 
patronage and, from the very first, heartily 
endorsed the enemy. Nathan Hale of the 
Advertiser is for this reason often called " the 
father of the railroad system of the State." 

According to George Glover Crocker, who 
has made a special study ^ of the history of 
transportation facilities in and about Boston, 
the first report to the Massachusetts Legisla- 
ture in favor of a railroad for passenger traffic 
was made in 1827 when it was decided that the 
idea was feasible. At this time it was planned 
to have a path on each side of the rails, like 
the canal tow paths, for the horses who should 
convey the cars. Already Gridley Bryant had 
in this fashion drawn from the granite quarries 
in Quincy to the Neponset River near by the 
granite used in the construction of Bunker 
Hill Monument. To be sure, there had been 
much opposition to the granting of the charter 
necessary for the construction of this railroad, 
involving as it did the taking of a right of way 
by eminent domain. But the patriotic purpose 
for which the road was to be used finally caused 
the vote in its favor to be carried by a bare 

^ From the Stage Coach to the Railroad Train and the Street Car, 


Every step in the development of railroading 
was opposed by those endowed with " good 
common sense." Captain Basil Hall, who in 
1827 rode by stage coach over the present 
route of the Boston and Albany railroad, said, 
" Those Yankees talk of constructing a railroad 
over this route; as a practical engineer I 
pronounce it simply impossible." And in the 
June of that year there appeared in the Boston 
Courier a satirical article from the pen of the 
editor, Joseph T. Buckingham, which ridiculed 
the " railroad mania " and declared a line from 
Boston to Albany to be " as useless as a railroad 
from Boston to the Moon." 

Yet Buckingham himself joined the " fa- 
natics " the next year. Nearly all the editors, 
indeed, printed congratulatory notices when, 
on March 17, 1834, the first New England 
experiment with a locomotive was made on the 
Boston and Worcester road, then completed 
as far as Newton. Regular passenger service 
to this town, with three trains a day in either 
direction, began on May 16, the trip being made 
in nineteen minutes and the fare being 37^ 
cents. When Harriet Martineau visited us, 
late in 1835, she was able to record " very 
speedy communication " between Boston and 
New York by way of Providence, — the dis- 
tance " being performed in twenty hours by 
rail-road and steam-boat." The same writer 


was a good deal impressed by the expenditure 
of " some thousands of dollars " to clear the 
tracks of the recently completed Boston and 
Lowell road from a single fall of snow. 

Considerable local interest attaches to the 
development of this last-named railroad be- 
cause it connected Boston with the new seat 
of textile manufacturing founded by a remark- 
able group of Boston men, prominent among 
whom were the Lowells, Appletons, Lawrences, 
Jacksons, Millses, Reads and Lymans. The 
charter of the Boston and Lowell railroad was 
obtained through the influence of Daniel Web- 
ster and provided that, for thirty years, no 
road should be built parallel with it. From the 
start this road was taken rather more seriously 
than the road to Worcester, whose average 
speed had been only ten miles an hour and which 
went so slowly on up-grades that farmers and 
berry pickers, stationed alongside the rails, 
could pass their wares to the conductor on the 
moving train to sell for them in the city. 

Four years were required to build the Boston 
and Lowell road and, on Wednesday, May 27, 
1835, its rails were used for the first time. 
The engine employed was the " Stephenson " 
and had been built by the Robert Stephenson 
Company at Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, the 
previous year. This highly important adjunct 
of the road was shipped from England to Boston 


and there taken apart and drawn by canal 
boat up the old Middlesex Canal to Lowell. 
On its first trip the twenty-six miles to 
Boston was made in one hour and seventeen 
minutes. The cars drawn by this " made in 
England " engine, were modelled after the 
stage coach and seated six persons. The 
conductor, called the captain, rode, without 
shelter, where the stage driver would have sat 
and the brakeman rode backwards at a cor- 
responding seat at the other end. The engine 
had no whistle and there was no cab for the 
engineer. The particular guardian of the 
" Stephenson " was named William Robinson 
and he had been imported from England with 
the engine. He was an enthusiastic horseman 
and a good deal of a dandy. Often he would 
be so busy exercising the fast stepper he stabled 
in Boston that the train for Lowell would start 
an hour late! At first there were no baggage 
cars and no checks, and seats in the forward car, 
where cinders circulated freely, were somewhat 
cheaper than further back. For, as Tony Weller 
pointed out, travelling after an engine was not 
an unmixed joy. 

The stage coach and the tavern had reached 
the height of their glory together and together 
they declined. For now an altogether different 
type of hostelry was required, and in Boston 
steps had already been taken to meet the new 


need. By 1828 it had become an actual neces- 
sity that the city should have a house for the 
entertainment of visitors which should not 
only be spacious but should possess as well 
dignity and beauty. Accordingly there was 
erected by subscription the Tremont House, the 
pioneer first class hotel in America. Peter 
C. Brooks and David Sears gave ten thousand 
dollars each to the undertaking, and Harrison 
Gray Otis, Samuel Appleton, Thomas Handa- 
syd Perkins, William Lawrence, Henry Hovey, 
Samuel Eliot, Josiah Quincy, Edmund Dwight, 
Robert G. Shaw, John L. Gardner and Fred- 
erick Tudor were among the other well-known 
Bostonians who contributed liberally to the 
enterprise. The corner stone was laid July 4, 
1828, and the house was opened to the public 
in October, 1829, its initial event being a sub- 
scription dinner over which Mayor Quincy 
presided. Among the distinguished guests were 
Judge Joseph Story, Daniel Webster, Peter 
C. Brooks and Edward Everett, the latter 
making the occasion notable by his dehvery 
of a witty and remarkably felicitous speech. 

" In the erection of this hotel," he then said, 
" Bostonians have certainly shown that they 
think the worshipful company of travellers 
ought to'be as well bestowed as circumstances 
admit. ... I will, with your leave, propose a 
toast: 'The memory of Columbus, the father 


of American travellers, who thought the world 
too narrow for him, even before he was sure 
there was any other; who crossed the un- 
known Atlantic for. a trip of pleasure, and 
discovered a new continent for his watering 
place.' " 

The first manager of the new hostelry was 
Dwight Boyden and he belongs at the head of 
a noteworthy list of men who took great joy 
in serving the public at this famous old stand. 
In his day the dining room procedure at the 
Tremont House was as elaborate as the steps 
and figures in an old-fashioned minuet. " The 
waiters," says Benjamin F. Stevens, who wrote 
the hotel's valedictory, " filed into the upper 
end of the room where the landlord stood with 
a long white apron around him, and carving 
knife and fork in hand; and at the sound of a 
bell one seized upon a quantity of plates, 
another knives, a third forks, a fourth a lot 
of large soup spoons, and a fifth the smaller 
spoons. At the second sound of the bell they 
moved into line, and at the third marched 
with sedate steps behind the chairs of the 
guests, and simultaneously the bearers of plates, 
knives, forks and spoons, with a flourish of the 
hand, placed the diflferent articles upon the table 
before the guests, and then gracefully stepped 
back into line ready to carry out their orders. 
In the meantime, the landlord was carving." 


Similar customs wer^ kept up here until the 
table d'hote system was abolished. And the 
price of board was only $1.50 a day, $2,00 
securing a parlor as well as a bedroom! 

The bill of fare for the first dinner in the 
Tremont House has come down to us and is of 
decided interest because it is fairly typical of 
the state " American plan " dinner consumed by 
our grandfathers. The soups were terrapin and 
Julienne, and terrapin in two forms as well as 
cod, bass, trout, haddock and blackfish were 
found in the " first course " (sic). Then for the 
" second course " came boiled chicken, boiled 
turkey, boiled mutton and boiled ham together 
with veal in several forms, chicken salad, and 
" vol au vent aux Kuitres." The roast course 
included beef, mutton, chicken, duck, par- 
tridge, plover, quail, woodcock, mongrel geese 
and turkey. "Pastry, puddings, jelly. Blanc- 
mange and Meringues a la creme " made up the 
" fourth course," while for " dessert " were 
offered seckel pears and choice grapes. 

One interesting custom, which obtained at 
the Tremont House, in its early days, was that 
of providing slippers for the guests while their 
high top boots were being blacked or greased. 
These, in various hues and sizes, were arranged 
in a row in the oflSce. On New Year's Day 
transients were served, free of charge, with all 
the sherry they could drink and regular boarders 


with all the eggnog they found it convenient 
to imbibe. 

In June, 1833, when President Andrew Jack- 
son came to Boston to open the new dry-dock 
in the Charlestown Navy Yard and to celebrate 
the docking there of Old Ironsides, he and 
his secretaries, as well as Commodore Isaac 
Hull and Martin Van Buren, then vice-president, 
put up at the Tremont House. Here, too, 
Charles Dickens stopped on his first visit to 
America in 1842; • and the house was the head- 
quarters, the previous year, of the Prince De 
Joinville. In June, 1843, President Tyler and 
the members of his cabinet were guests here, — 
the occasion of their visit to Boston being the 
completion of Bunker Hill Monument. Among 
the theatrical lights who put up here, while 
playing in Boston, were Edwin Forrest and 
William C. Macready. Daniel Webster often 
stayed here, when he had come up to town 
from his Marshfield farm, and Mr. Stevens is 
authority for the statement that " here he 
wrote some of his undying speeches and ora- 

The personality of the man in charge of the 
Tremont House must have had not a little to 
do with the enormous success which the hotel at- 
tained. Many of the landlords had as fine a sense 
of the dignity of their calling as have the doctors 
and lawyers of our own time. Paran Stevens, 


who was here from 1852-1863, was a born 
hotel man. 

Mr. Stevens had previously had five years 
at the Revere House. This interesting hostelry 
is still entertaining guests in Boston. Built 
in 1847 by a company of gentlemen connected 
with the Charitable Mechanic Association it 
was named for Paul Revere who had served 
that association as first president. The house 
stands on the site of the dwelling and grounds 
of Kirk Boott, one of the eminent merchants 
of old Boston, and father of that Kirk Boott 
who was connected with early manufacturing 
in the city of Lawrence. Here Jenny Lind 
stopped during her memorable Boston season;- 
and Presidents Fillmore, Pierce, Johnson, Gen- 
eral (and then President) Grant, General Sher- 
man, General Sheridan, the late King Edward, 
when Prince of Wales, the Grand Duke Alexis, 
King Kalakaua, the Emperor Dom Pedro, 
Christine Nilsson, Parepa Rosa, Adelina Patti 
and hosts of other well-known people have 
been its guests. From the balcony in front of 
one of the large parlor windows speeches have 
been made by many noted public men in 
response to the call of the assembled crowds. 
Another Boston hotel of ancient and honorable 
history is the United States, whose seal dates 
back to 1826 and which, though built before 
the railroad, had the good fortune to have 

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behind it men who foresaw the coming of that 
change and planned for it. Daniel Webster 
lived here for a while and it was here that 
Charles Sumner entertained Dickens. 

The American House dates from 1835. It 
was to this place that Emerson and "Whitman 
adjourned for what Walt describes as " a bully- 
dinner " after the Sage of Concord and the 
Good Gray Poet had for hours been tramping 
up and down Boston Common arguing about 
the wisdom or folly of publishing " Leaves of 

Intimately boimd up with the development 
of hotels and means of transportation is the 
growth of newspapers and increased facility 
in mail transmission. As late as 1835 it cost 
eighteen and three-quarters cents to send a 
letter of a single sheet from Boston to New 
York. Necessarily, therefore, newspapers pre- 
ferred copying from sheets issued in, other cities 
to maintaining their own correspondents in 
New York and elsewhere. In 1825 Boston had 
four daily papers, three tri-weekly ones, seven 
semi- weeklies and fifteen weekly sheets. News 
gathering then meant actual physical adventure 
and particularly was this true in the field of 
marine intelligence. 

The first regular marine service in Boston 
was established by Samuel Topliff, who had 
been a supercargo in the employment of William 


Gray and who was well acquainted with the 
hazards of the deep. He fully understood, 
also, how eager merchants are for the earliest 
possible news of their vessels. As it was only 
through the news-room (situated at first in the 
Exchange Coffee House) that merchants could 
obtain reliable information and so buy stocks 
intelligently, Mr, Topliff came to be a great 
power in the community. His accuracy was so 
well established that his name was frequently 
forged at the end of dispatches with the hope 
of enhancing the price of certain commodities 
and inflating stock values.^ 

A man thus indorsed would not, of course, 
long remain in another's pay and soon Mr. 
Topliff became himself proprietor of the reading 
room and by his marked ability in its conduct 
developed a business very satisfactory to the 
merchants and very remunerative to himself. 
Under him headquarters were removed to the 
Merchants' Hall building, on the corner of 
Congress and Water Streets, an admirable site 
for the reason that the postofBce was then in 
the same building. 

Topliff's news-room was a kind of club as well 
as an information bureau. It was the head- 
quarters for the merchants who dropped in 
regularly in the morning before proceeding to 
their counting-rooms and offices. Besides its 

' See Topliff's Travels, Boston Athenaeum, 1903. 


" telegraph " (a system of signals operated on 
Long Island) it maintained two boats, from 
which Mr. Topliff or his assistant boarded in- 
coming vessels in quest of the latest marine 
news. The facts thus obtained were recorded 
for the benefit of subscribers in one of seven 
books, each devoted to some branch of the 

From Merchants' Hall Mr. TopliflP moved 
his headquarters to the Old State House and 
there his news-room continued to flourish 
until 1842 when he withdrew from the business. 
For some years before this he had obtained a 
good deal of his information by the use of a 
telescope stationed at the top of his house at 
32 Washington Square, Fort Hill. 

But just as the stage coach was superseded 
by the railroad and the tavern by the hotel so 
this picturesque method of news gathering was 
swept away when, early in the forties, Samuel 
Finley Breese Morse, ^ of Charlestown, invented 
and perfected the electric telegraph. The day 
of things " modern " was at hand. 

1 See The Romance of Old New England Roof-Trees. 



BOSTON had had several destructive fires 
during the period covered by this book. 
In 1824 a fire originated near the corner 
of Charles and Chestnut Streets, spread to 
Beacon Street and destroyed sixteen buildings, 
thus inflicting on the city the great loss (for 
that time) of $150,000. On Fast Day, in 1825, 
fifty stores valued at a million dollars were 
burned in Central and Kilby Streets, and in 
November of the same year ten buildings on 
Court Street containing many lawyers' offices 
were destroyed. In May, 1835, there came still 
another fire which rendered more than one 
hundred families homeless by the destruction 
of buildings in Blackstone, Pond and Salem 

The great Boston Fire, however, did not come 
until 1872. It broke out shortly after seven 
o'clock on Saturday evening, November 9, in 
the four story granite block at the corner of 
Summer and Kingston Streets. Ere it was 
extinguished, it had burned over a space of 


sixty-five acres destroying property valued at 
seventy -five million dollars ! 

This fire is of interest to us not simply because 
it was a spectacular and impressive conflagra- 
tion, but also because it utterly changed the 
aspect of Boston in that district over which it 
burned. Mr. Harold Murdock has very cleverly 
brought this fact out in the introduction to 
his little book, made up of what purport to 
be "Letters Written by a Gentleman in 
Boston to His Friend in Paris Describing the 
Great Fire." He here points out that a member 
of the Harvard Class of 1872 who might have 
left Boston immediately after his graduation 
to return to-day for the first time " would look 
in vain for the old landmarks and accustomed 
sights of his boyhood days." Christ Church, 
Faneuil Hall, the Old State House, The Old 
South Church, King's Chapel and the Park 
Street spire he would still find, to be sure. 
But the Common would have lost its gates and 
its Old Elm,i Tremont Street its far-famed 
trees planted by coachmaker Paddock, and 
Summer Street all of that old-time beauty and 
charm which made it, even in the early seventies, 
a region to be reverenced. 

For Boston in 1872 was still a small city, 
comparatively, and a quaintly attractive one; 

' The old elm on Boston Common was the first thing Dean Stanley 
asked Edward Everett Hale to show him when he visited Boston. 


it covered a territory of less than thirty square 
miles and embraced a population of 250,000. 
Roxbury had been annexed in 1868, and Dor- 
chester in 1870, but Brighton and West Rox- 
bury were still separate towns. That the city 
had not yet learned how to deal adequately 
with a great crisis is, however, shown by what 
happened when this fire broke out. 

To be sure, conditions were untoward. It had 
been a very rainy day and almost every horse 
in the city was ill with the strange disease which, 
for want of a better name, was called " the 
epizootic." Yet there were four hundred and 
seventy -five paid men in the Boston fire depart- 
ment — and the scene of the disaster was a 
centrally located one. The real trouble appears 
to have been that everybody thought some one 
else must have given the alarm, with the result 
that it was not given at all for some time. 
When the engines arrived upon the scene the 
fire had already made great headway. And 
although no wind wa;s stirring it spread rapidly, 
crossing Summer Street and entering both 
Devonshire and Otis Streets. It also burned 
eastward down Summer Street to Church Green 
and from there went on rapidly to Broad Street 
and along High and Purchase Streets towards 
Fort Hill. Thus nearly everything in the terri- 
tory bounded by Washington Street on the 
west. Summer Street on the south, the water. 


Oliver Street and Liberty Square on the east, 
and State Street on the north was taken in. 

Happily, Fort Hill which, at this time, had 
been cut away but not built upon, gave the 
firemen a vantage point of which they made 
excellent use and from this stand on the one 
hand and from the Old South Church and the 
then new Post Office, on the other, an attack 
was made with such steadiness and pluck that, 
on Sunday afternoon, the flames were effectively 
quenched. Naturally, however, the city was in 
a deplorable condition. Thousands upon thou- 
sands had seen their property consumed or 
had been thrown out of employment for they 
knew not how long, and the terrible excitement 
of the anxious night and day during which the 
fire raged had unstrung the nerves of the 
strongest. The whole community was on the 
verge of panic, for every vacant space was 
filled with hastily moved furniture or mer- 
chandise and pickpockets and petty thieves 
wandered to and fro at will. Finding that the 
police were quite inadequate to cope with the 
situation, a whole brigade of militia was called 
out to do active duty (with the Old South 
for their barracks) and guards were set to 
patrol the streets at night. Fortunately, these 
precautions served to prevent any very shocking 
breach of the peace. 

Though the number of dwelling houses whiqh 


had been destroyed was comparatively small the 
loss of income by the stopping of employment 
.was so large that measures of relief had to be 
organized at once. But the assistance freely 
and generously offered by the people of other 
cities was not needed. There was, indeed, a 
surplus of twenty thousand dollars — of the 
$341,913.68 collected in Boston itself — to re- 
turn when the relief committee was dismissed. 
Fourteen lives were lost in the fire, seven being 
firemen. For the families of these the relief 
committee — of which Otis Norcross was treas- 
urer — made permanent provision by placing 
in the hands of Martin Brimmer, Samuel D. 
Warren, Avery Plumer, William Endicott, Jrj, 
and George Higginson $81,870.90 in trust. To 
aid working women and girls nearly seventy 
thousand dollars was expended in clothing, 
food, rent, sewing machines and transportation; 
to families burned out and to other sufferers, coal, 
wood, stoves, furniture, clothing and other nec- 
essaries money to the amount of nearly seventy- 
five thousand dollars was expended, while almost 
twenty thousand dollars was invested in the 
work of relieving the men who had lost their 
employment by the fire. The committee seems 
to have acted with great discretion in all this 
administering of relief. 

Of all the buildings swept away by the fire 
Trinity Church was perhaps the most pic- 









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Page 385. 


From u photograph hy Louis A. Bolman. 
P:ige 386. 


turesque. Built (in 1829) of stately granite, 
with a tower of impressive architecture, it 
was at this time the weekly resort, because of 
the preaching of the young Phillips Brooks, of 
a large and varied company of people. Brooks 
had come here from Philadelphia in 1869, a 
handsome yoimg bachelor of thirty-three, filled 
with immense devotion to his work and dis- 
tinguished by rare powers of eloquence. It 
was largely through the. influence of the Hon. 
Robert C. Winthrop, long one of the first 
citizens of Boston, that Brooks had been called 
to the conservative old parish, but Winthrop's 
enthusiasm over the yoimg preacher was soon 
justified by the crowds he drew. From the 
very beginning of Brooks's incumbency Sexton 
Dillon had hard work seating the throngs 
who flocked to listen to him. Vainly did the 
worthy man strive to meet an emergency so 
wholly unlike anything he had hitherto known 
in his long administration. Then he tried to 
sort the people who presented themselves for 
admission ! " Dillon once came to me in the 
vestry-room," said Mr. Brooks in speaking of 
the matter to a friend, " to tell me of a method 
he had devised to reduce the numbers who 
sought admittance to the church. 'When a 
young man and a young woman come together, 
I separate them,' he explained, and he expected 
me to approve the fiendish plan," 


The journalistic habit of giving space to 
current church news seems to have dated from 
these golden days in old Trinity. I find the 
following description of a Sunday morning 
there: "The old building seems the fitting 
place of worship for the solid men of Boston. 
There is an air of ancient respectability about 
it. . . . The deep roomy pews, thoughtfully 
padded, seem adjusted for sleeping, and though 
seven can sit comfortably in them, if you 
humbly ask for the fifth seat in some of them, 
beware of the lofty look and high-bred scorn 
which seems to say, ' Are not the galleries free 
to negro servants and strangers? ... I shall 
have to let you in, I suppose. Take that 
prayer-book and keep quiet; service has begun. 
Don't you see Mr. Brooks? ' 
t ^ " Yes, we do see the Rev. Phillips Brooks, 
a tall, stout, powerfully built man, with smooth, 
boyish face and very near-sighted eyes, which 
nevertheless, by the help of glasses, seem to 
search you out in whatever dark corner you 
may be hidden. He is reading the service with 
a thin voice and rapid, breathless, almost 
stuttering delivery and yet with a certain 
impulsive and pleading earnestness that carries 
even Congregationalists onto their knees, and 
takes them to the throne of grace." 

Brooks felt very keenly the loss of the old 
church. Plans for the present edifice on Copley 


Square were already underway, to be sure, but 
that he had a great fondness for old Trinity 
we see from his letters written at the time. 
" The desolation [of the fire] is bewildering. 
Old Trinity seemed safe all night, but toward 
morning the fire swept into her rear and there 
was no chance. She went at four in the morning. 
I saw her well afire, inside and out, carried off 
some books and robes and left her. She went 
majestically and her great tower stands now 
as solid as ever, a most picturesque and stately 
ruin. She died in dignity. I did not know how 
much I liked the great gloomy old thing till 
I saw her windows bursting and the flame 
running along the old high pews." 

Yet Phillips Brooks's sermon in Huntington 
Hall, the following Sunday, was full of an 
onward and upward sweep, of insistence that 
life comes through death — the lesson of the 



MANY of the famous people who came to 
Boston for a visit during the period 
covered by this book have been discussed 
in connection with the mission which brought 
them here; and others will, for lack of space, 
be passed over entirely or merely mentioned. 
But the visits of Charles Dickens in 1842 
and in 1867 call for more detailed attention. 
His first coming was the sensation of the early 
half of the nineteenth century. From the day 
of his arrival in the city press and people vied 
with each other to do him honor and so great 
was his vogue that a wit declared him " Fanny 
Ellslerized," that piquant dancer having been 
similarly lionized during her stay in Boston. 
Three days after his arrival in Boston Dickens 
gave a sitting for the Francis Alexander portrait 
of himself now owned by Mrs. James T. Fields, 
and as great a throng attended him from the 
Tremont House — his headquarters — to the 
artist's studio at 41 Tremont Row as if he had 
been Royalty. Dickens has recorded in the 


" Boston " chapter of his American Notes his 
impressions of the city and of its institutions 
during this visit of 1842. The most satisfying 
passage is that which describes his tour of the 
Perkins Institution for the Bhnd in South 
Boston and his wonder at what had there been 
done for Laura Bridgman, Dr. Howe's famous 

During Dickens's visit in 1867 he was enter- 
tained by Mr. and Mrs. James T. Fields in 
the charming old house at 148 Charles Street 
in which Mrs. Fields still lives, surrounded 
by souvenirs of her many grateful guests. In 
that pleasant volume. Biographical Notes 
and Personal Sketches, this lady, who was 
Dickens's hostess on Christmas Eve and who 
afterwards, that same night, heard him read 
" the Carol," paints vividly the enthusiasm 
with which the beloved writer was received 
by his audience. " The whole house rose and 
cheered! The people looked at him with 
gratitude as one who held a candle in a dark 

It was during this visit that there occurred 
the famous Walking-Match, posters of which 
are now dearly prized by American collectors 
of Dickensiana. Dickens had said that his 
agent, George Dolby, could outwalk Osgood; 
but James T. Fields was of the opinion that 
his partner, Osgood, was the better man. Ac- 


cordingly, the matcli was arranged " for two 
hats a side and the glory of their respective 
countries " (Dolby was an Englishman, of 

The time set for the contest was Feb. 29, 
1868, and the course was to be over the 
Mill Dam road to Newton Centre, a route 
Dickens and Fields had already traversed in 
preparation for the " event." When the author 
and publisher went over the ground they 
became very thirsty, only to find that the 
stores of the village supplied nothing except a 
few oranges! They purchased these, however, 
and sat down on a doorstep to enjoy them. In 
the " sporting narrative " which Dickens had 
to write concerning the match (won by Osgood) 
he indulges in a highly characteristic sentence 
about this incident: 

" Six miles and a half, good measure, from 
the first tree in the Mill Dam road lies the little 
village (with no refreshments in it but five 
oranges and a bottle of blacking) of Newton 

Mr. Dolby, in speaking of the " Great 
Walking Match," was ever wont to aflSrm that 
England must have won had not Mrs. Fields 
arrived on the scene in her carriage, and, turning 
around, accompanied Osgood the rest of the 
walk, plying him the whole time with bread 
soaked in brandy. All,^with the exception of 


Osgood, of course, felt that she showed great 
favoritism in this respect: but she frankly- 
admitted that she would have done the same 
by the Englishman had she met him coming in 

To Dickens, as to many another distinguished 
visitor from abroad, Boston gave a ball; tickets 
for the function that bears his name brought 
forty dollars each! Usually, these great balls 
were given at the Boston Theatre, which was 
equipped with a floor made in sections and so 
arranged that it could be fitted on over the 
parquet seats, thus giving extensive dancing 
space on a level with the stage. Here were 
held a number of functions that figure in the 
social history of the period. The Tigers' Ball, 
February 28, 1859; the Mount Vernon Ball, 
March 4, 1859; Firemen's Military and Civic 
Ball, March 18, 1859; Grand Juvenile Ball, 
March 23, 1859; National Sailors' Fair, Novem- 
ber 7, 1864; and State Military Ball, March 
5, 1866. During the war a Fair in Aid of the 
Sanitary Commission also took place here and 
many a Bostonian, still living, recalls pleasantly 
the splendid entertainment and dance given in 
this place in honor of the Russian Grand Duke 
Alexis, December 8, 1871. 

All these balls, however, pale before the 
memory of that given to the late Edward VII 
of England during his visit to Boston in 1860. 


This is generally known as the Renfrew ball 
because it was as Baron Renfrew that the 
young prince was travelling. Entrance to the 
city was made by the railroad from Albany 
and the Boston Journal of October 18, 1860, 
records as an important item of news the fact 
that the prince was able to take a lunch of 
" cold ham, tongue and woodcock while the 
train was in motion!" The prince and his 
suite entered by the station in Longwood, were 
greeted by Mayor Lincoln and then made their 
way, attended by a large military escort, 
through Roxbury to his quarters in the Revere 
House. On the following day the young prince 
— he was then nineteen — attended among 
other functions a musical festival in Music 
Hall at which twelve hundred children sang 
to the accompaniment of an orchestra led by 
Carl Zerrahn. This the prince pronounced the 
most thoroughly enjoyable event of his visit. 

But it is upon the ball, held Thursday even- 
ing, October 18, that chroniclers of the visit 
are wont to dwell with most unction. The com- 
mittee in charge of invitations included such 
imposing personages as Longfellow, Edward 
Everett and Jared Sparks; but lesser people 
might have been more efficient. The crowd was 
so great that three ladies fainted on the way 
to the ball room and one had a fit. Possibly, 
however, it was the flutter incident to meeting 

Page 392. 

Page 392. 


a young prince, and not the crowd, which was 
responsible for this; one newspaper observes 
that " the excitement that agitated the minds 
of the young ladies as they prepared to enter 
was very great and betrayed itself in flushed 
faces, bewildered looks and disarranged gowns." 
Dr. Samuel A. Green, mayor of Boston in 1882, 
and for more than fifty years a prominent mem- 
ber of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 
tells me that the ball came near precipitating 
a crisis in governmental affairs, which, in its 
seriousness, was not unlike the etiquette differ- 
ences between President Washington and Gov- 
ernor Hancock, in 1789. The question of the 
hour as regards the ball, was, " Who should 
dance in the first set with the prince? " This 
strictly social discussion centered around the 
wife of the governor of the State and the]equally 
worthy helpmeet of the mayor of the city. 
Which lady should have the honor of being the 
prince's first partner? 

Finally, it was amicably decided that to the 
wife of the mayor belonged the honors of this 
occasion inasmuch as the prince was the city's 
guest particularly. Mrs. Banks was accorded 
the prince's hand in the second quadrille. 
The prince did his duty nobly, dancing no 
less than seventeen times, and all who met 
him were charmed with his grace and his 
simple imaffected manners. Four of those 


who were his partners are still living in 
Boston: Mrs. John Quincy Adams, nee Miss 
Fanny Crowninshield; Mrs. Greely S. Curtis, 
nee Hattie Appleton; Mrs. F. Gordon Dexter, 
nee Susan Amory; and Mrs. George W. Amory 
who was Miss Carrie Bigelow. Among the 
throng of girls ^ who would fain have danced with 
him but did not was Fanny Carter Ronalds, — 
then a bride of a year, — the famous Boston 
beauty of the period, who, later, made her home 
for many years in London, where she was an 
intimate friend of King Edward and of Queen 
Alexandra. The news of her death, following 
close upon that of the king who was a boy in 
1860, comes as this book goes through the 

The descriptions of the gowns worn at the 
Renfrew ball make very entertaining reading 
and I would like to quote several of them, did 
space allow. But this, of a literary lady who 
appears to have " helped the reporter out " is 
too delicious not to be given: 

" Miss Martha Haines Buitt, A. M., the 
talented and accomplished literary belle of 
Norfolk, Va., the author of ' Leisure Moments,' 
and the contributor of several highly popular 
pieces to the serial publications of the day, 

1 The " female preponderance " must have been appalling on 
this occasion. Besides the 1100 tickets admitting lady and gentle- 
man, which were sold, there were 525 for ladies only. 


made an elegant appearance. She was attired 
in a rich white silk dress, with lace overdress, 
the body with deep points, the dress looped with 
mauve imperatrice ribbons, and studied [sic. 
and how appropriate!] at intervals with en- 
ameled flowers of same color, bordered with 
gold, bertha of lace, ribbon and flowers to cor- 
respond with skirt. Hair braided in massive 
grecian braids and decorated with white flowers 
and pearls. This dress was an exact fac simile 
of one worn by the Empress Eugenie on a recent 
occasion. Miss Buitt had a very elegant 
bouquet of New York manufacture, from the 
floral depot of Chevalier & Brower, 523 Broad- 
way, under the St. Nicholas hotel. It repre- 
sented an imperial star, and was composed of 
blush rosebuds, tuberoses, heartsease, acanthus 
and sweet alyssum; it was supported by an 
elegant silver holder ornamented with a deep 
white silk fringe. Miss Buitt attracted much 
attention for her admirable figure, her exquisite 
costume, and for her graceful movements in 
the dance." 

Dancing lasted until half past four in the 
morning, supper having been served at midnight 
in the Melodeon, next door, to which a passage 
had been cut through for the occasion; but 
not until three o'clock was there room to waltz 
comfortably in the huge auditorium. Yet the 
visitors as well as those who entertained them 


seemed to find the aflfair enjoyable and the 
secretary of the Duke of Newcastle wrote in 
his published diary of the Boston trip that every- 
thing about it " was in better taste than the 
entertainment of the New Yorkers." 

Other foreigners of high degree whom the 
City of Boston entertained during this period 
were Louis Napoleon, in 1858; the Chinese 
embassy in 1868; the Japanese ambassadors 
in 1872 and Dom Pedro II, Emperor of Brazil, 
in 1876. The emperor had expressed himself 
as desirous of receiving private social attentions 
only from Mrs. Louis Agassiz and Professor 
Longfellow, but he was anxious to meet Whittier, 
with whom he had corresponded both in regard 
to poetry and the emancipation of slaves, and 
Mrs. Agassiz arranged that they should come 
together. When they met the emperor would 
have embraced the poet, Latin fashion, but the 
diffident Friend shyly avoided the encounter 
and led the way to a sofa where, for a half hour, 
the two talked happily. 

There is an amusing story connected with 
Dom Pedro's visit. He went to climb Bunker 
Hill at six A. M., and, of course, found the keeper 
abed. That functionary, when roused, was by 
no means predisposed in favor of his early 
visitor, particularly when he found the stranger 
had to borrow fifty cents of his hackman in 
order to get into the monument. Richard 


Frothingham, who lived in Charlestown, hap- 
pened in at the lodge, two hours later, and, 
seeing Dom Pedro's signature in the visitors' 
book, asked the keeper how the emperor looked. 
Putting on his glasses to examine the hand- 
writing, the faithful guardian of the granite- 
pile muttered crossly, " Emperor, pooh ! that's 
a dodge; that fellow was only a scapegrace 
without a cent in his pocket." 

Two years after Dom Pedro's visit to America 
there came to this country, and in due season, 
to Boston, one foreign visitor who has always 
greatly interested me. She was Mrs. Anne 
Gilchrist, friend of the Rossettis, beloved of 
Walt Whitman and especially interesting to 
women of our time because she was the first 
woman publicly to express admiration for that 
puzzling volume. Leaves of Grass. 

It was from New England, as we might 
expect, that the strongest opposition in this 
country to Whitman's poems came originally. 
On Boston Common, indeed, were fought out 
the first skirmishes of the battle afterwards 
waged' so long and so mercilessly against Whit- 
man's book, particularly the " Children of 
Adam " portion of it. Emerson and Whitman 
were warm friends at the time of the book's 
appearance and the Concord philosopher rea- 
soned and remonstrated for hours with the 
revolutionary Whitman concerning the desira- 


bility of omitting some of the poems. Up and 
down the mall of Boston Common walked the 
two, vigorously discussing the thing. In his 
Diary Whitman records that every reason 
Emerson advanced for the omission of the poems 
in question was sound, every argument un- 

" Yet," he comments, " I felt down in my soul 
the clear and immistakable conviction to disobey 
all and pursue my own way . " Which decision he 
forthwith expressed to Emerson. That famous 
talk on the Common which resulted in Whitman's 
adherence to Emerson's own precept, " Insist 
on yourself," — as set forth in the essay on 
Self Reliance, — occurred May 12, 1863. Six 
years later a copy of the resulting volume was 
sent to William Rossetti, Dante Gabriel's 
brother, and by him lent to Mrs. Gilchrist. 
Rossetti knew that this woman, who was his 
close friend, had both the heart and the brain 
to appreciate Whitman's integrity of purpose, 
whether she should or should not admire all 
that he had written, but he was somewhat 
surprised that she at once accepted Whitman 
almost in his entirety, and that with a fervor 
such as the poet had never before called forth 
from a woman. 

" What I, in my heart, believe of Whitman," 
she then wrote, " is that he takes up the thread 
where Christ left it; that he inaugurates in 


his own person a new phase of rehgion, a re- 
hgion which casts out utterly the abjectness of 
fear, sees the nimbus around every head, knowing 
that evil, like its prototype, darkness, is not a 
thing at all, but the absence of a thing — of 
light. ..." And of the " Children of Adam " 
Mrs. Gilchrist made a descriptive phrase that 
will last for all time when she said: " This is 
not the heights brought down to the depths, but 
the depths lifted up level with the sunlit heights 
that they may become clear and sunlit, too." 

To this woman who hastened to send him 
ardent expression of her faith Whitman's heart 
almost necessarily went out in warm aflfection. 
The letters which passed between the two 
during the eight years that intervened before 
Mrs. Gilchrist came to this country constitute 
one of the most remarkable correspondences 
of our time. It is to be hoped that they may 
not much longer be withheld from publication. 

Mrs. Gilchrist's headquarters, while in Bos- 
ton, were at 39 Somerset Street, and she has 
written that she made more acquaintances 
during her two months' stay here than during 
her whole life before. But I have sought in 
vain for a Boston woman who remembers 
meeting her. On her way to Boston from 
Philadelphia, however, Mrs. Gilchrist spent 
some time in beautiful Northampton, a town 
which, socially, reminded her of Cranford, but 


" Cranford with a difference." For though the 
place had its maiden ladies and widows, its 
tea parties with " a solitary beau in the centre 
like the one white flower in the middle of a 
nosegay," she found the Northampton ladies 
much more vital than those of Cranford and her 
heart went out to them. I once had the pleasure 
of meeting two of the ladies who entertained her 
in Northampton and they recalled for my benefit 
the pleasure they had had in receiving this 
guest from England. She was dressed, they said, 
in simple black silk, that afternoon she came 
from her rooms at the Round Hill House to drink 
their tea and present a letter given her by Mon- 
cure Conway, whom a cousin of their own had 
married. It happened that they had ice-cream 
for supper and her naive pleasure in this dish, 
which was then quite a delicacy, especially im- 
pressed itself on the mind of her hostess. After 
supper Mrs. Gilchrist sang some quaint old 
songs very sweetly, and once, when Tennyson 
was mentioned as "a great poet," she said 
quickly, " Ah, but you have a much greater 
one here in Walt Whitman." 

In his poem, " Going Somewhere," written 
after Mrs. Gilchrist's death in 1885, Whitman 
calls this ardent disciple of his his " science 
friend," and his " noblest woman-friend." But 
the verse itself gives no hint of the great affec- 
tion which inspired this " memory leaf for her 








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dear sake." It is, indeed, Whitman at his 
very dryest. Which proves that he could be 
impersonal in treating a subject upon which 
he felt deeply. His moment of deepest self- 
revelation seems to have come later when, 
speaking to Horace Traubel of Rossetti's warm 
brotherly love for Mrs. Gilchrist, he said, " She 
was his friend; she was more than my friend. 
I feel like Hamlet when he said forty thousand 
brothers could not feel what he felt for Ophelia."' 

Another literary woman who came to Boston 
during the period we are here considering, — 
though, in point of years, her visit ante-dated 
Mrs. Gilchrist's by a whole quarter of a century, 
— was Miss Delia Bacon, originator of the 
so-called Baconian theory. In Mrs. John 
Farrar's Recollections of Seventy Years may 
be foimd a highly interesting account of this 
writer's imusual personality and of her sad 
decline. " She was the first lady whom I ever 
heard deliver a public lecture and the hall in 
which she spoke was so crowded that I could 
not get a seat; but she spoke so well that I 
felt no fatigue from standing." 

This Boston course was so successful that 
Mrs. Farrar persuaded Miss Bacon to give a 
series of talks on history in Cambridge and 
arranged for her a very appreciative class which 
used to meet in the large parlor of the Brattle 

> With Watt Whitman in Camden. 


House. It was after this course had been 
Successfully completed that Miss Bacon first 
began to talk to her friends about going to 
England. They encouraged her in the idea, 
thinking that she could there make a success 
of her lectures just as she had done here. 
" But," says Mrs. Farrar, " after talking this 
up for a time I perceived that I was talking in 
vain. She had no notion of going to England 
to teach history; all she wanted to go for 
was to obtain proof of the truth of her theory, 
that Shakespeare did not write the plays 
attributed to him, but that Lord Bacon did. 
This was sufficient to prevent my ever again 
encouraging her or talking with her about 
Shakespeare. The lady whom she was visiting 
put her copy of his works out of sight, and 
never allowed herself to converse with her on 
this, her favorite subject. We considered it 
dangerous for Miss Bacon to dwell on this fancy, 
and thought that, if indulged, it might become 
a monomania, which it subsequently did." 

A " Life " of this gentle monomaniac was 
written in 1888 by Theodore Bacon, her nephew 
(who has since died), and I think I have never 
read a sadder book. The little Delia was born, 
we there learn, February 2, 1811, in a small 
Ohio town whither her father had gone from 
Connecticut, to pursue his labors as "a mis- 
sionary. Things did not prosper, however, 


with the pioneer preacher, so, with his dehcate 
wife and his six Httle children, he soon journeyed 
back to Connecticut where, in 1817, he died 
leaving a very helpless family. Schoolteaching, 
story -writing and even an attempt at dramatic 
composition occupied Miss Bacon in the years 
preceding her success as a lecturer. Her biog- 
rapher hints at an unhappy love-affair which, 
coming to her at the mature age of thirty -five, 
may have had something to do with the un- 
settling of her mind. By 1853, she could think 
of nothing but of her Baconian prepossession 
and she found the burden of her historical 
lessons an intolerable one. 

Emerson was very kind to Miss Bacon from 
the beginning of his acquaintance with her, 
about this time, but he never in the least 
believed in her theory of the authorship of 
Shakespeare's plays, always referring to it as 
a " brilliant paradox." From him she was 
obliged to bear this but she would not bear it 
from her brother. Dr. Leonard Bacon, a suc- 
cessful and much respected clergyman, and 
there followed an estrangement between them. 
The one thing of which she could now think 
was of England, to which place she sailed May 
14, 1853, armed with introductory letters from 
Emerson to many people of literary prominence. 
Most of these letters she never used; she was 
much too occupied with what Carlyle soon 


came to call her " tragically quixotic enter- 
prise " to cultivate society. But the Carlyles 
were most kind to her and, after her first bold 
and brilliant paper had been published, — 
through Emerson's good offices, — in the Jan- 
uary, 1856, number of Putnam's Monthly, 
Hawthorne, who was now United States consul 
in Liverpool, also aided her, materially as well 
as by his friendly sympathy. 

Nothing in all Hawthorne's life is more 
honorable than the noble generosity' and the 
unfailing helpfulness which he bestowed on 
this forlorn countrywoman of his, whom he 
never met but once and who was certainly a 
very trying literary aspirant for one of his 
nature to deal with. When the lady spoke to 
him contemptuously of the " Old Player " he 
told her that she really grieved him. Whereupon 
she replied, " I am sorry to have hurt your 
feelings with my profane allusions to the Earl 
of Leicester's groom, a witty fellow enough in 
his way. But the person you love and reverence 
is not touched by my proceeding. He is the 
one I am at work for." 

Before the two met, the final blow came to 
Miss Bacon. Several packets of manuscript, 
which she had entrusted to Mr. Emerson for 
use in Putnam's, were lost in transportation 
and in addition the magazine refused to go on 
with the serial publication of the work. Miss 


Bacon's friends began to urge her by every mail 
to come home. But this she absolutely refused 
to do. To Hawthorne she wrote, " I will not 
go. I will open a ' cent shop ' in my House of 
Seven Gables first. There is not anything 
which is honest that I will not do rather than 
put the Atlantic Ocean between me and what 
I came to find." 

Hawthorne has told in his English note 
book of his single visit to Miss Bacon. "I 
was ushered up two (and I rather believe 
three) pair of stairs" he there records, "into 
a parlor somewhat humbly furnished, and told 
that Miss Bacon would soon come. There 
were a number of books on the table and, 
looking into them, I found that every one of 
them had some reference, more or less im- 
mediate, to her Shakespearian theory, — a 
volume of Raleigh's History of the World, 
a volume of Montaigne, a volume of Lord 
Bacon's letters, a volume of Shakespeare's 
Plays, and on another table lay a large roll of 
manuscript which I presume to have been a 
portion of her work. To be sure, there was a 
pocket Bible among the books, but everything 
else referred to the one despotic idea that had 
got possession of her mind. . . . Unquestion- 
ably she was a monomaniac; these overmas- 
tering ideas about the authorship of Shake- 
speare's plays, and the deep political philosophy 


concealed beneath the surface of them, had 
completely thrown her oflf her balance; but, 
at the same time, they had wonderfully devel- 
oped her intellect and made her what she could 
not otherwise have become. 

" I had expected (the more shame for me, 
having no other ground of such expectation 
than that she was a literary woman) to see 
a very homely, uncouth, elderly personage 
and was quite agreeably disappointed by her 
aspect. She was rather uncommonly tall and 
had a striking and expressive face, dark hair, 
dark eyes, which shone with an inward light as 
soon as she began to speak, and by and by a 
color came into her cheeks and made her look 
almost young. ... I could suppose her to 
have been handsome and exceedingly attractive 
once. . . . She assured me that she was per- 
fectly happy and I could well conceive it; for 
Miss Bacon imagined herself to have received 
(what is certainly the greatest boon ever 
assigned to mortals) a high mission in the world 
with adequate powers for its accomplish- 
ment. . . ." 

Yet the privations the poor lady suffered 
while preparing her manuscript for publication 
were terrible. She lived on the poorest food, 
was often without the means of having a fire 
in her chamber, and she told Mrs. Farrar that 
she wrote a great part of her large octavo 


volume sitting up in bed in order to keep 

The introduction whicli Hawthorne wrote 
for the book when it came out is very straight- 
forward and very touching. In it he says that 
the author " has given nothing less than her 
life to the work." And this was literally true. 
For scarcely had the monumental Philosophy 
of Shakespeare's Plays Unfolded, been put be- 
tween covers when Miss Bacon's mind failed 
utterly. Through the good offices of Emerson 
and Hawthorne she was then brought back to 
her family by a young relative and, after pass- 
ing some months in a " Retreat " at Hartford, 
died in that city of her childhood September 
2, 1859. Her best epitaph was pronounced 
by Hawthorne where he says, " I know not 
why we should hesitate to believe that the 
immortal poet may have met her on the thresh- 
old of the better world and led her in, reassuring 
her with friendly and comfortable words, and 
thanking her (yet with a smile of gentle humor 
in his eyes at the thought of certain mistaken 
speculations) for having interpreted him to 
mankind so well." 



THERE is a stiff-necked reluctance on the 
part of certain American cities to ac- 
knowledge that Boston is or ever has 
been a literary centre. Even during that golden 
age when Emerson, Longfellow, Lowell, Holmes 
and Whittier here sang together; Bancroft, Pres- 
cott. Motley and Parkman here wrote history. 
Garrison, Phillips, Parker and Sumner here 
preached reform — and Thomas Gold Appleton 
flitted about from circle to circle, cheering them 
all with his wit' — magazine articles used occa- 
sionally to appear questioning Boston's claim 
to literary distinction! 

Emerson was, of course, Boston-born (his 
early home was on Summer Street near what is 
now the corner of Chauncy Street), and he 
occupied a pulpit here as a young man. All 
his life he came back and forth to the city 
from his chosen retreat in Concord and he 
never lost his love for it. Longfellow's relations 
with Boston were of a much more casual kind. 

* Emeison called him " the first conversationalist in America." 


The lode-star which drew him oftenest to the 
city was Father Taylor, whose preaching in 
North Square to a devoted company of sailors 
seems greatly to have attracted the Cambridge 
poet and scholar. 

Lowell's closest association with Boston was 
about the year 1857, when he became first 
editor of the Atlantic Monthly, a position which 
he held for four years. Holmes, however, whom 
Lowell stipulated should be " the first con- 
tributor to be engaged " for the new magazine 
if he were to accept its editorship, may well be 
called the most typical Bostonian that our 
modern Athens has ever known. To be sure, 
he was born in Cambridge; but almost his 
entire life of eighty-five years was spent in 
Boston and he was very likely speaking of 
himself when he said that for a Bostonian the 
State-House is the hub of the solar system. 
By reason of this remark as well as because he 
is identified with no less than three Boston 
streets — besides the " Long Path " which 
stretches from Joy Street to Boylston Street on 
the Common — there is no danger that his 
name will soon cease to be linked with that of the 
old town whose very ground he loved. " I 
have bored this ancient city through and through 
in my daily travels," he makes the Autocrat 
say, " until I know it as an old inhabitant of 
a Cheshire knows his cheese." For eighteen 


years lie lived in Montgomery Place, now 
Boswortli Street; then from 1859-1871 he made 
his home at 164 Charles Street, there writ- 
ing, among other things, the Professor at the 
Breakfast Table, Elsie Venner and his fa- 
mous poem, " Dorothy Q." And when Charles 
Street became too noisy, he moved to 296 
Beacon Street, where his study in the rear of 
the house overlooked the Charles River to 
Cambridge and beyond. 

It is hard to realize that Holmes was nearly 
fifty years old when, through Lowell's acumen, 
he first came into prominence as a literary man. 
He has naively described his own surprise at 
this metamorphosis: "I, who felt myself 
outside the charmed circle drawn around the 
scholars and poets of Cambridge and Concord, 
having given myself to other studies and duties, 
wondered somewhat when Mr. Lowell insisted 
upon my becoming a contributor. I looked at 
the old Portfolio and said to myself: ' Too 
late! too late! This tarnished gold will never 
brighten, these battered covers will stand no 
more wear and tear; close them and leave them 
to the spider and the bookworm.' " 

But Lowell knew what he was about. He had 
been present at many a dinner which Holmes 
made brilliant by his wonderful talk and his 
occasional poems, and he applied a friendly 
pressure to which the little professor cheerily 


responded. Already the " first contributor " had 
christened the new magazine The Atlantic, 
and when his department. The Autocrat of the 
Breakfast Table, was annoimced, the success 
of the venture became assured. To be sure, 
there were many who did not know what the 
nom de plume meant, and it was a joke, which 
may also have been a truth, " that the pro- 
prietor of a well-known religious weekly as- 
sumed the new department to be one given over 
to cook-book matters! " 

Whittier carried a Boston latchkey during 
the early part of his life. For eight months, in 
1829, while he was editing The Manufacturer 
he lived with Rev. William Collier at 30 Federal 
Street where Garrison also lodged. During the 
strenuous anti-slavery days he used to stop, 
while in Boston, at the Marlborough Hotel, of 
which mention was made in the chapter on the 
old hostelries, and, later, he was often the 
guest of Governor Claflin at the spacious house 
numbered 63 Mt. Vernon Street, which all but 
adjoins that made famous as the Boston home of 
Thomas Bailey Aldrich. 

It is hard to say whether Aldrich is more 
intimately associated with Ponkapog, which I 
assure you is real though many have supposed 
it to be as fictitious as Puritania, or with this 
house at 59 Mt. Vernon Street. Since my own 
memories of him are connected with the latter 


place we will talk of that, however. Mt. 
Vernon Street is one of the loveliest spots in the 
world. Its houses have an air of old-fashioned 
solidity and of comfort not to be found in any 
on Boston's " made land," while from the top 
of the hill, — and Aldrich's house is just at the 
apex, — one can see the beautiful Charles River, 
winding lazily into the distance. Some of the 
homes retain the little blue panes of glass, by 
passing through which the sun was supposed to 
acquire even more than its natural salubrity, 
and in front of the Aldrich house, though it is 
in the very heart of Boston, is a gay little patch 
of lawn upon which the sun through the adjacent 
trees makes quaint arabesques of shade. 

To reach the study, which was the heart of 
the house, one climbed a fascinating flight of 
winding stairs, — giving glimpses here and there 
of all kinds of beautiful things, Oriental rugs, 
pictures and bits of statuary, — or else, en- 
trusting one self to a tiny iron cage, was literally 
lifted, by a man above and a woman below, — 
right into the presence of the poet. Aldrich 
must have been a singularly fair-minded man. 
He and Whitman never got on — so widely 
differentiated in temperament were they — 
and I don't think the younger poet could easily 
have forgiven the elder for the way in which, 
one day at Pfaff's, he replied, to his eager, " Oh, 
Walt, did you know I had a poem in this 


week's Home Journal?" with a nonchalant, 
'' Oh, yes, Tom. They shoved the paper under 
my door this morning and I heard your little 
tinkle." Yet on the walls of Aldrich's study, 
I noticed opposite a portrait of Edwin Booth a 
photograph of Walt Whitman ! 

Bancroft and Hawthorne can be more easily 
connected with the Boston Custom House than 
with any other institution of the city, for it was 
while the historian was collector of the Port 
that he gave Hawthorne that place in the 
government's service from which the young 
genius was able to save money enough to buy 
some stock in Brook Farm. Hawthorne, be- 
cause of his shy temperament and his poverty, 
was so obscure as to have been practically 
unknown in Boston during this period. His 
son-in-law records that his chief distinction, to 
the popular eye, at this time, lay in the fact that 
he was extremely fond of martial music and 
could generally be found — "a tall shapely 
figure rendered military by the thick mustache, 
— following any procession headed by a band! " 

The historian Prescott belongs undeniably 
to Boston. The house at 55 Beacon Street in 
which he lived from 1845 to 1859 is still standing 
and is one of the most picturesque of the old 
homes opposite the Common, Here, he wrote 
the History of the Conquest of Peru and the 
History of the Reign of Philip the Second. 


That Boston home of John Lothrop Motley 
in whose garret he, as a lad, used to play with 
Wendell Phillips and Tom Appleton, was on 
Walnut Street, but it is with the houses at 11 
Chestnut Street and at 2 Park Street that 
the later life of the author of the Rise of the 
Dutch Republic is associated. Parkman, too, is 
identified with Chestnut Street. For nearly 
thirty years he occupied the house which is 
there numbered fifty, painstakingly working 
out, without the use of his eyes, his marvellous 
series of works dealing with France and England 
in North America, 

One thing which has always helped to make 
Boston a literary centre — and will continue 
so to do in spite of the envious elsewhere — is 
its great library advantages. Colonel Higginson, 
when writing for Harper's Magazine the series 
of historical articles used by that publication 
in 1885, had to obtain his books in Boston and 
Cambridge and have them sent to New York 
for consultation. The collections at the Harvard 
College library are easily accessible to Boston 
literary workers, and the State Library, the 
Athenaeum and the Boston Public Library are 
rich mines for those who must use many books. 

The Boston Athenaeum sprang from a maga- 
zine, which, like many another young venture 
of its kind, did not pay, and after six months 
was abandoned by its projector, Phineas Adams, 


M - 



From a photograph hy Chicl'cring, in the possession of Miss Mary 
Boyle O'Reilly. 

Page 403. 


From the painting by Frederic Vinton, in the Archiepiscopal 
Residence, Boston. 

Page 403. 


a poor Harvard student. Its printers, Monroe 
& Francis, determined, however, to carry it 
on, and Rev. William Emerson, the father of 
Ralph Waldo Emerson, was invited to become 
its editor. Through him a number of gentlemen 
and scholars of the day became interested in the 
magazine, and after binding themselves into a 
club, continued it under the name Monthly 
Anthology and Boston Review. ^ 

There were in all nineteen of these men, and 
they, it appears, are entitled to be remembered 
as the foimders of the Boston Athenaeum. For 
they soon organized, from the profits of the 
magazine, and from private subscriptions, the 
nucleus of the library. 

I The " Reading Room," as it was originally 
called, was opened in Joy's Building on Congress 
Street, Jan. 1, 1807. In February of that same 
year the subscribers were incorporated as " pro- 
prietors of the Boston Athenaeum." John 
Sylvester, William Emerson, William S. Shaw, 
William Tudor, Jr., Peter O. Thacher and 
Edmimd T. Davis being among the promoters 
of the tmdertaking. 

The first ofBcers were appointed April 7, 
1807, as follows: Hon. Theophilus Parsons, 
president, Hon. John Davis, vice president, 
John Lowell, treasurer, William S. Shaw, sec- 
retary. Rev. William Emerson, Rev. John T. 
Kirkland,'D. D., Peter Thacher, R. H. Gardiner 


and Rev. J. S. Buckminster, trustees. To these 
were added, July 16, Hon, Harrison Gray Otis, 
Samuel Eliot and James Perkins. 

A decided spurt to the new undertaking 
was given by an article in the Monthly An- 
thology for May, 1807, written by Rev. John T. 
Kirkland, D. D., president of Harvard College. 
Soon after this 150 shares at $300 were sold, 
thus adding what an old writer on the subject 
has termed " a large number of respectable 
names " to the corporation. Shares today 
bring about $400, and are eagerly sought by 
good Bostonians. 

For some time after its inception the Athenaeum 
was the only library of importance accessible 
in any way to the public. The older " Boston 
Library," a proprietary institution, which for- 
merly had its quarters in Franklin Street over 
the arch [hence Arch Street], — moving later to 
Boylston Place, — was neither so general nor so 
extensive as the younger institution, and the 
Public Library was not established for many 
years, and then only after a plan for making the 
Athenaeum public had failed. But the Anthol- 
ogy Club's institution was much more than a 
library. Like the original Athenaeum in Rome, 
its purpose was the promotion of literary and 
scientific studies, and anything tending towards 
these ends found encouragement there. Its 
art exhibitions used to bring in a yearly income 


of from $1000 to $2000, which, with various 
special funds, was spent judiciously in acces- 

The Athenaeum has had many homes. From 
Congress Street it went to ScoUay's Building, 
in what is today ScoUay Square, and in March, 
1809, a house was purchased on Tremont 
Street, on the site of what was until a few years 
ago the home of the Massachusetts Historical 

Here it continued, its collection of books 
gradually increasing in number until 1822, when 
it received from James Perkins the noble gift 
of his mansion house on Pearl Street, to be used 
as the library's home. At this time it possessed 
over 17,000 volumes and 10,000 pamphlets. 

The rules provided for the free accommoda- 
tion in the reading room of the governor and 
his council, the lieutenant-governor and mem- 
bers of the Massachusetts legislature, judges of 
the supreme courts and courts of the United 
States, officers and resident graduates of Har- 
vard, Amherst and Williams College, and of the 
Hanover theological school, the presidents of 
the American Academy, the historical society, 
the medical society, the agricultural society, 
the Salem Athenaeum and the East India 
Marine Society of Salem, as well as clergymen 
settled in Boston. These last dignitaries were 
further allowed to take books home. 


It is interesting to learn that early habitues 
of the Athenaeum were greatly shocked by an 
innovation which gave to Hannah Adams, the 
first American woman to earn her living with 
her pen — and a very scanty living it was — 
the freedom of the library. This was in Miss 
Adams' old age, after she had become deaf as 
well as nearly blind. But in spite of her infirm- 
ities she retained her keen love of books and 
was frequently so lost in the dusty tomes that 
she forgot to eat and could not be roused by the 
librarian when he departed at noon to satisfy 
his healthy man's appetite. He would lock 
her up with the books, therefore, only to find 
when he returned that she was as unconscious 
of him as before. Miss Adams herself seems to 
have felt the strangeness of her occupation, 
for she laments in her memoirs that circum- 
stances forced her to "do business out of the 
female line and so expose herself to the ridicule 
of males." The portrait of this first woman 
worker has an honored place on the walls of 
one of the Athenaeum rooms, along with the 
pictures of many famous literary men who have 
used the library. 

The corner-stone of the present building on 
Beacon Street was laid in April, 1847, and the 
building was completed and occupied in 1849. 
The corporation had the good fortune to acquire, 
in 1848, a large part of George Washington's 


library for the small sum of $4000. These 
books were in a very good state of preservation, 
and are now, of course, worth many times the 
original price paid. Best of all, the Washington 
library beautifully pieces out the very valuable 
collection of historical works for which, with 
works on biography and art, the Athenaeum is 
famous. Another priceless set of books in the 
Athenaeum are those volumes given to King's 
Chapel in 1698 by WiUiam III. 

The library is well endowed, having an in- 
come-producing fund which amounts to half a 
million. For many years the American Academy 
of Arts and Sciences, the oldest literary institu- 
tion in Boston and the second oldest in America, 
had its headquarters here, but now these are 
in the rooms of the Massachusetts Historical 

There are in all 1049 stockholders, who, with 
their families, are privileged to use the library, 
and may themselves go to the shelves for any- 
thing they wish. Students and authors from a 
distance are always welcome, however, and the 
courteous attendants succeed admirably in 
making even casual investigators feel at home 
in the pleasant old halls, where Tabby the Wise, 
the Athenaeum cat, who seems to have assimi- 
lated the quiet air of refinement and culture 
which pervades the classic old library, sleeps 
comfortably in a sunny corner, a fit symbol of 


the unstrenuous life for which this institution 

The cat is not the only frequenter of the 
Athenaeum who enjoys cozy naps within its 
sacred precincts. A number of venerable Bos- 
tonians come here every day quite as much, 
it would seem, for the sake of the soporific as 
the scholarly properties of the place. 

Hawthorne has penned one of his most 
characteristic, although least known tales, about 
a good old Boston worthy whom he used to 
see nodding over his newspaper at the Athe- 
naeum. The story is called " The Ghost of 
Dr. Harris," and was written from Liverpool 
in 1856 for Mrs. J. P. Heywood, to whom the 
great romancer had once told it. It tells in 
Hawthorne's own charming and inimitable style 
how he saw the old gentleman Harris reading 
the newspaper in his accustomed place the 
evening of the day on which the man had passed 
away! There is one startling sentence which 
states that the old man was probably reading 
the very newspaper in which his own death 
must have been announced. The story was 
first printed in the Nineteenth Century of 
February, 1900, and has never been added to 
the works of Hawthorne, though it is in his best 

Hawthorne's Concord neighbor, Emerson, 
used to come to the Athenaeum a great deal. 


even as late as 1875. His daughter, Miss Ellen 
Emerson, usually accompanied him, carrying 
his papers and books and her satchel. They 
would sit by one of the windows overlooking 
the burying ground and make arrangements 
as to how they would spend their day in the 
city. One of the older attendants has strikingly 
described a conversation between Emerson and 
Longfellow, carried on as the two great New 
Englanders stood together overlooking the 
peaceful cemetery. The author of " Hiawatha," 
she recalls, was erect and sprightly and smiling 
as usual, while the transcendentalist, taller in 
stature, lounged back with his shoulders against 
a set of Memoirs of the French Revolution 
and regarded his vivacious companion, his 
strong-cut features beaming with pleasure at 
the encounter with his long-time friend and 

Emerson, this attendant recalls, exemplified 
in his choice of books his own maxim not to 
read any publication until it was a year old. 
But this was, perhaps, necessarily so, inasmuch 
as he wished always to keep for a long time 
the books he took out, and recent publications 
are not permitted to be held for a long period. 
The record book at the Athenaeum in 1867 has 
down against the Concord scholar Chester- 
field's letters, Swedenborg's Lyra Apostolica, 
Huxley, Dry den and Dante. In 1877, which 


was only five years before his death, Emerson 
took out Jean Paul's works, Darwin's Sights 
and Insights, Landor's Famous Women, Rus- 
kin's Ethics of the Dust, Balzac's Illusions, 
Butler's Year of Consolation, and Middlemarch, 
as well as Horace. 

William F. Poole, who originated Poole's 
Index, was at one time [1856-68] the librarian 
of the Athenaeum, and it was here that the chief 
part of the work which has since lightened the 
labor of so many writers, was done. Others 
who have served in this capacity are William 
Smith Shaw, one of the founders (1813-1822); 
Seth Bass (1825-1846); Charles Folsom, an 
ex-librarian of Harvard (1847-1856); Charles 
Ammi Cutter, originator of Cutter's system of 
classification (1869-1892); William Coolidge 
Lane, now librarian at Harvard (1893-1897); 
and Charles Knowles Bolton, the present 
librarian, appointed in 1898. 

About twenty years ago $30,000 was spent 
in the improvement of the present building, 
and even then Boston groaned and sputtered 
because of what was termed the " modern- 
izing " of its favorite literary haunt, involving 
as it did the loss of the " Charles Sumner stair- 
case " — which occupied one fourth of the 
building! At intervals one hears that the old 
stand is to be abandoned and then, again, 
Boston has convulsions. Just at present, how- 


ever, the library seems likely to stay on indefi- 
nitely in its old brown-front building near the 
State House. 

For a bookish city Boston was astonishingly 
slow in providing library accommodation for 
those who needed it most, i. e. for those who 
could have no share in the rich privileges of the 
Athenaeum. And the idea of a public library 
emanated, not from a Bostonian at all, but 
from a Frenchman, Alexandre Vattemare, who 
was born in Paris near the close of the eight- 
eenth century. Though bred a surgeon Vatte- 
mare in middle life became an impersonator. 
In the course of his professional tourings, the 
awful waste of books, imperfectly catalogued 
and glued to their shelves, impressed itself 
upon him and he determined to devote time, 
energy and property to " give the intellectual 
treasures of the cultivated world the same 
dissemination and equalization which commerce 
had already given to its material ones." His 
aim was nothing less than to establish in every 
quarter of the world " free public libraries and 
museums ever open to the use of the people." 
When he came to America, in 1839, he found 
that he must not only bring books but create 
free libraries to put them in, but, nothing 
daunted, he began a vigorous agitation of the 
whole matter. 

At a meeting held in the Masonic Temple 


on the evening of May 5, 1841, M. Vattemare 
first presented his idea. After hearing what 
"the renowned Frenchman " — he was so styled 
by Mayor Chapman in his introductory ad- 
dress — had to say, a committee consisting 
of Dr. Walter Channing, Rev. Ezra S. Gannett, 
Rev. G. W. Blagden and Charles Francis 
Adams was appointed to submit plans and 
estimates for a building. Yet since we were 
then having one of our periodic " bad times " 
it was six years more before anything further 
was done. Then, in 1847, Mayor Quincy 
(Josiah Quincy Jr.) interested himself in the 
project and offered five thousand dollars towards 
a public library on condition that ten thousand 
dollars additional for the same purpose should 
be raised. M. Vattemare had meanwhile for- 
warded fifty valuable volumes which were 
being stored^n the City Hall, and these were 
soon joined by gifts of books from Edward 
Everett, Robert C. Winthrop, S. A. Eliot and 
others, all of which were placed in the City Hall 
under the care of Edward Capen. 

In August, 1850, Mayor Bigelow contributed 
$1000 towards the library fund, and Edward 
Everett, persistently advising the erection of 
a building, Joshua Bates, a native of Boston, — 
who afterwards became a prominent member 
of the firm of Baring Brothers, — donated to 
the city of his birth (in 1852) the handsome sum 


of $50,000 for a Public Library. Now at last 
the matter was put into definite shape. Steps 
were taken to purchase the Wheeler estate 
on Boylston Street; in the meantime, the lower 
floor of the Adams schoolhouse on Mason Street 
was fitted up for library purposes and a board 
of trustees and a librarian were elected. The 
Mason Street reading room was opened to the 
public March 20, 1854, and in May of the same 
year the circulation of books for home use began. 

The thing in which Vattemare had been 
principally interested was a system of inter- 
national exchanges of volumes concerning the 
growth, development and history of each country. 
He saw that Boston received nearly one himdred 
such works from France and Boston duly gave 
back a long list of books to the citizens of Paris. 
Meanwhile there continued to arrive from 
Mr. Bates a rich accumulation of the higher 
class of books. To organize this most important 
part of the library and give chief control over 
the whole to a skilled hand a city ordinance was 
passed (March, 1853) creating the oflBce of 
superintendent of the Boston Public Library. 
The first incumbent was Charles Coffin Jewett. 
Upon his death, January 9, 1868, Justin Winsor 
was appointed. 

The reading-room and lower hall library of 
the building on Boylston Street were opened in 
1858, and there, for nearly thirty years, all 


Boston was made welcome to a collection of 
books which constantly increased in variety 
and value. To facilitate the use of these Arthur 
Mason KJaapp, that " giant among reference 
librarians " for twenty-four years gave heart, 
soul and mind in devoted service to the public. 

The old Corner Bookstore, and some of the 
literary clubs and famous literary households of 
the city, must be mentioned before we leave 
this subject of Boston as a literary centre. 
James T. Fields was the genius loci at the corner 
of School and Washington Streets, and hardly a 
man whose name now forms a part of New 
England's contribution to literature but has 
" loafed around " the "Old Corner Book Store," 
so far as he loafed at all. George William 
Curtis has said of this institution: 

" It was a very remarkable group of men — 
indeed, it was the first group of really great 
American authors — which familiarly fre- 
quented the corner as the friend of Fields. 
There had been Bryant and Irving and Cooper 
and Halleck and Paulding and Willis of New 
York, but there had been nothing like the New 
England circle which compelled the world to 
acknowledge that there was an American litera- 

Field's home at 148 Charles Street was 
similarly a rallying-place and has long been 
well known for its delightful hospitality to 


visiting celebrities. Crowded from entrance to 
attic with artistic objects and literary trophies, 
this house is still a delight to all so fortunate as 
to know it. For, beside its rare books and 
the intimate pictures, there are mementoes of 
the many famous men and women who have 
stayed there for a longer or shorter period. In 
one little bedroom, provided with old furniture, 
antique engravings and bric-a-brac, have reposed 
at different times, as guests, Dickens, Thack- 
eray, Hawthorne, TroUope, Matthew Arnold, 
Kingsley, Miss Cushman, and Bayard Taylor. 
The late Sarah Orne Jewett made her home 
with Mrs. Fields while in Boston. 

Of Thackeray, who stayed here in 1850, 
Fields tells a delicious story in his Yesterdays 
with Authors. He gave him a dinner at the 
Tremont House and American oysters had been 
provided. Thackeray had as yet made the 
acquaintance only of the small British species. 
A half dozen of the American variety were set 
before the Englishman, who looked at them 
in some amazement, and then gingerly picked 
up the smallest one. 

" Try the big one," urged Fields. 

" No," was the reply. " It is too much like 
the high priest's servant's ear that Peter cut 

After some advice as to the proper mode 
of procedure, Thackeray achieved his first 


American oyster, and he then remarked, " Pro- 
foundly grateful, I feel as if I had swallowed a 
little baby." 

Another literary home which was long a 
centre of intellectual stimulus was that of 
Mr. and Mrs. Edwin P. Whipple, at 11 Pinckney 
Street. For thirty years they held "Sunday 
evenings" of rare hospitality and charm, to 
which came, among others, the brilliant Rufus 
Choate, one of the greatest forensic advocates 
America has ever produced. 

For many years the hospitable home of 
Louise Chandler Moulton at 28 Rutland Square 
was another happy hunting-ground for authors 
and visiting celebrities. Her " Fridays " are 
now perpetuated, in some measure, by the 
weekly teas, in their rooms at Kensington 
Chambers, of the Boston Authors' Club, of 
which Mrs. Moulton was long a valued and 
devoted member. 

Chief in prestige of the literary clubs of the 
nineteenth century was the Saturday Club, 
inaugurated about the time the Atlantic 
Monthly was founded. It met on Saturday 
once a month at two o'clock in the mirror-room 
at Parker's and among its members were 
Emerson, Hawthorne, Longfellow, Motley, 
Whipple, Whittier, Professor Benjamin Pierce, 
Sumner, R. H. Dana, Dr. Holmes, Governor 
Andrew, Charles Eliot Norton, Henry James 


(the elder). Judge Hoar, Chief Justice Gray, 
Preseott, and later. President Eliot, Howells, 
Aldrieh and Phillips Brooks. Agassiz, who was 
a great favorite in the club, always insisted 
on having a huge joint of roast mutton served 
entire, from which he cut his own slice, re- 
quiring the meat to be cooked more and more 
rare as he got on in years. 

Of the Papyrus Club, made up of journalists, 
authors and painters, John Boyle O'Reilly 
was long a favorite member and for many years 
president. It was to O'Reilly, who had a 
peculiar love for things Egyptian, that the 
club, organized in 1872, owes its name. At the 
time of his death in 1890, O'Reilly and Arch- 
bishop John J. Williams were joint owners of 
the Pilot, a Roman Catholic paper of wide 
influence and marked readability. To O'Reilly, 
who has been called " the most romantic figure 
in literary Boston," a noble bust now stands 
on the Back Bay Fens. It is not without 
significance, I think, that Boston is the only city 
in the country which has thus honored a purely 
literary man. 



Adams, Charles Francis, 398. 
Adams, Laban, 333. 
Adams, Hamiah, 392. 
Adams, John, 1. 
Adams, Mrs. John Quincy, 368. 
Adams, Rev. Nehemiah, 133. 
Adams, Phineas, 388. 
Adams, Samuel, 86. 
Agassiz, Louis, 403. 
Aaassiz, Mrs. Louis, 370. 
Alcott, Bronson, 46, 66, 96. 
Alcott, Louisa A., 217. 
Aldrich, Thomas Bailey, 385, 

386, 387. 
Alexander, Cosmo 281, 282. 
Alexander, Francis, 362. 
Alexis, Grand Duke, 365. 
Allston, Washington, 179, 283, 

American House, 351. 
Ames, Joseph, 285. 
Amory, Mrs. George W., 368. 
Amory, Rufus G., 13. 
Anderson, J. R., 241. 
Andrew, John Albion, 225, 231, 

232, 235, 236, 237, 286, 335. 
Anglin, Margaret, 267. 
A^leton, Nathan, 22. 
Appleton, Samuel, 346. 
Appleton, Thomas Gold, 150, 

315, 382. 
Appleton, WilHam, 22. 
Arnold, Matthew, 401. 
Atlantic Monthly, 383. 
AustiD, James Trecothick, 136, 


Bacon, Delia, 375-381. 
Bacon, Dr. Leonard, 377. 
Ball, Thomas, 313. 
Bancroft, George, 387. 
Banks, Mrs. N. P., 367. 
Barnard, Rev. Charles 316. 
Bamum, Phineas T., 289, 290, 
291, 293. 

Barrell, Joseph, 12. 
Barry, Thomas, 242, 268. 
Bass, Seth, 396. 
Bates, Joshua, 399. 
Beecher, Dr. Edward, 187. 
Beecher, Henry Ward, 176. 
Beecher, Rev. Lyman, 21, 97, 98, 

99, 168, 199, 249, 250, 261. 
Benjamin, Park, 242. 
Bigelow, Mayor John P., 398. 
Billings, J. E., 254. 
Billings, Hammatt, 101, 254, 

Birney, James C, 109. 
Blagden, Rev. G. W., 398. 
" BUthedale Romance," 31, 34, 

51, 55. 
Bolton, Charles Knowles, 396. 
Bond, George W., 135. 
Booth, Edwin, 261, 271, 272, 

Booth, J. B., 239, 240. 
Booth, John Wilkes, 264, 265, 

Boott, Kirk, 350. 
Boston Advertiser, 341, 342. 
Boston Athenaeum, 13, 154, 388- 

Boston Authors' Club, vi, 402. 
Boston Common, 7, 10, 11, 19, 

91, 92, 152, 351, 355, 371. 
Boston Custom House, 33, 387. 
Boston Latin School, 151. 
Boston Museum, 248, 251-267. 
Boston Music Hall, 197, 208, 215, 

216, 217, 224, 278. 
Boston Public Library, 10, 123, 

211, 397-400. 
Boston Theatre, 267-273, 314, 

Boston Transcript, 140, 148, 206. 
Boston Traveller, 331. 
Bowditch, Nathaniel IngersoU, 3, 

4, 294. 
Bowditch, William I., 323. 




Bowles, Samuel, 321. 
Bowman, Brooks, 335. 
Boyden, Dwight, 333, 347. 
Boyden, Simeon, 333. 
Bradford, George P., 29, 36. 
Bradford, Sarah H., 125. 
Breck, Samuel, 17, 307, 326. 
Brimmer, Martin, 286, 358. 
Brisbane, Albert, 49. 
Bromfield House, 333, 334, 335. 
Brook Farm, 1-55. 
Brooks, Peter C, 346. 
Brooks, Phillips, 359, 360, 361. 
Brooks, Preston S., 195, 196. 
Brown, Albert G. Jr., 237. 
Brown, John, 192, 193, 194, 196, 

197, 224, 236. 
Brownson, Orestes Augustus, 47. 
Bruce, Georgiana, 37. 
Bryant, Gridley, 342. 
Buckingham, Joseph T., 86, 90, 

Buckminster, Rev. J. S., 390. 
Bulfinch, Charles, 11, 13, 15. 
Buitt, Martha Haines, 368, 369. 
Bull, Ole, 289, 296, 304, 305. 
Bunker Hill Monument, 11, 186, 

245, 250, 342, 349, 370. 
Burke, Master, 240, 246. 
Bums, Anthony, 140, 142. 
Burr, Aaron, 154. 
Bussey, Benjamin, 12. 
Butler, Senator, 195. 
Butterfield, Rebecca Codman, 

24, 36, 39, 41, 42. 

Cabot, Samuel Jr., 194. 
Cabot, Susan, 107. 
Gary, Annie Louise, 296. 
Carlyle, Thomas, 25, 56, 177, 

178, 377, 378. 
Chadwick, John White, 199, 201. 
Chapman, Henry G., 126. 
Chapman, Maria Weston, 107, 

117, 121, 126, 127, 128, 131, 

134, 176. 
Channing, Ann, 284. 
Channing, Dr. Walter, 398. 
Channing, WiUiam EUery, 91, 

108, 109, 110, 130, 131, 135, 


Channing, William Henry, 51, 

63, 79, 170. 
Chapman, Mayor Jonathan, 398. 
Cheney, Arthur, 273. 
Cheney, Ednah Dow, 70, 71, 91, 

93, 124, 205. 
Chickering, Jonas, 303. 
Child, David Lee, 22, 105. 
Child, Lydia Maria, 70, 107, 108, 

112, 132, 193. 
Choate, Rufus, 179, 402. 
Christian Examiner, The, 100, 

Church Green, 13, 99, 100, 356. 
Claffin, WiUiam, 278. 
Clapp, Henry Austin, 257, 272, 

Clapp, John Bouv6, 263. 
Clapp, WilUam W. Jr., 267. 
Clarke, James Freeman, 57, 63, 

67, 83, 84, 322. 
Codman, Dr. John Thomas, 25, 

35, 45, 51, 54. 
Collier, Rev. Wilham, 386. 
Colonnade Row, 10. 
Colver, Rev. Nathaniel, 249. 
Conway, H. J., 261. 
Coolidge, Joseph, 342. 
Copley, John Smgleton, 281, 283. 
Corbett, Alexander, Jr., 269. 
Cotting, Uriah, 4. 
Craft, Ellen, 125, 214, 215. 
Crandall, Prudence, 110. 
Crocker, George Glover, 342. 
Crockett, Col, Selden, 333. 
Crockett, S. Prank, 333. 
Curtis, George William, 24, 38, 

183, 196, 400. 
Curtis, Mrs. Greely S., 368. 
Cushlng, Caleb, 325. 
Cushman, Charlotte, 243, 273, 

274, 275, 276, 277, 278, 279, 

322, 401. 
Cutter, Charles Ammi, 396. 

Dana, Charles A., 24, 36, 37, 42, 

Dana, Richard Henry, 284. 
Dana, Richard H., Jr., 146. 
Davenport, E. L., 248. 
Davenport, Hart, 340. 



Davenport, Jean, 246. 

Davies, J., 261. 

Davis, Edmund T., 389. 

Davis, Hon. John, 389. 

De Stael, Madame, 165. 

Dexter, Mrs. F. Gordon, 368. 

Dickens, Charles, 309, 349, 351, 

362, 363, 364, 365. 
Dickinson, Anna, 323. 
Ditson, Oliver, 297. 
Dix, Dorothea Lynde, 227-231. 
Dodge, Mary Mapes, 323. 
Dolby, George, 363, 364. 
Dom Pedro, 350, 370, 371. 
Douglass, Frederick, 176. 
Drake, Samuel Adams, 13. 
Dwight, Edmund, 346. 
Dwight, John S., 36, 53, 297. 

Eastern Stage House, 341. 

Eaton, Charles H., 243. 

Edward VII., 365-370. 

Eichberg, JuUus, 297. 

Eliot, Prcs. Charles William, 403. 

EUis, David, 12. 

Ellis, Rev. George E., 337. 

EUsler, Fanny, 38, 244, 245. 

EUot, Samuel, 346, 390, 398. 

EUot, Mrs. Samuel, 18. 

Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 26, 58, 
63, 64, 66, 73, 82, 169, 177, 
180, 201, 224, 225, 226, 244, 
321, 322, 323, 337, 351, 371, 
377, 378, 382, 395. 

Emerson, Rev. William, 389. 

Endicott, William, Jr., 358. 

Evans House, 313. 

Everett, Edward, 257, 294, 346, 
366, 398. 

Exchange Coffee House, 11, 332, 
340, 352. 

Faneuil HaU, 2, 22, 106, 112, 113, 
135, 139, 142, 144, 165, 185, 

Farrar, Mrs. John, 69, 375. 

Fechter, Charles, 272, 273. 

Field, Kate, 287, 321, 323. 

Field, R. M., 264. 

Fields, James T., 234, 364, 400, 

Fields, Mrs. James T., 191, 316, 

362, 363, 364. 
Fillmore, President, 311, 350. 
FoUen, Charles, 130. 
FoUen, EUza Lee, 107. 
Folsom, Charles, 396. 
Foote, Rev. Henry W., 279. 
Forbes, John Murray, 15, 16. 
Forrest, Edwin, 238, 262, 349. 
Fourier, Charles, 49. 
Fox, Caroline, 253. 
Fries, Mrs. Wulf, 261. 
Frothingham, Rev. O. B., 44. 
Fuller, Margaret, 54, 65-82, 110, 


Gannett, Rev. Ezra S., 65, 129, 
316, 398. 

Gardner, John L., 346. 

Gardiner, R. H., 389. 

Garrison, Francis Jackson, viii. 

Garrison, Helen Benson, 117-123. 

Garrison, William Lloyd, 83, 85, 
86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 94, 95, 96, 
97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 
104, 106, 108, 110, 111, 113, 
114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 122, 
123, 127, 128. 

Geyer, Frederick, 13. 

Gifford, Rev. O. P., 169. 

GUbert, John Gibbs, 239, 248, 
250, 270. 

Gilchrist, Mrs. Anne, 371-375. 

GUmore, Patrick Sarsfield, 295, 
296, 297, 299. 

" Gleaner " papers, 4. 

Globe Theatre, 273. 

Goddard, Nathaniel, 12. 

Goldschmidt, Otto, 293. 

Graham, Dr. Sylvester, 48. 

Grant, U. S., 350. 

Gray, Horace, 342. 

Gray, Hon. William, 226. 

Gray, WiUiam, 12, 352. 

Greeley, Horace, 77. 

Green, Dr. Samuel A., 174, 367. 

Greenwood, Grace, 321. 

Grimkg, Angelina, 124, 125, 131, 

Grimk6, Sarah, 124. 

Guild, Samuel E., 8. 



Hackett, James H., 247, 248. 
Haggerty, Anna, 232. 
Hale, Edward Everett, 355. 
Hale, Nathan, 342. 
Hall, Captain Basil, 343. 
Hallett, Benjamin F., 136. 
Hallowell, Col. Edward, 232. 
HaUowell, Col. Norwood, 232. 
Hamilton, Alexander, 154. 
Harbinger, The, 24, 38, 40, 50, 

Harding, Chester, 18, 285. 
Hathorne, J. H., 336. 
Hawthorne, Julian, 57, 58, 339. 
Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 24, 33, 

34, 51, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 339, 

378, 379, 381, 387, 394, 401. 
Hayden, Lewis, 140. 
Healy, George P. A., 314. 
Hecker, Father Isaac, 41. 
Heywood, Mrs. J. P., 394. 
Higginson, George, 358. 
Higginson, Henry" Lee, 226, 295. 
Higginson, Col. Thomas Went- 

worth, vi, vii, 60, 80, 81, 140, 

223, 224, 230, 235, 323, 337, 

Hill, Henry, 12. 
Hillard, George S., 317, 335. 
Hollis Street Church, 253. 
Holmes, Oliver Wendell, 43, 63, 

383, 384. 
Horticultural Hall, 251. 
Hovey, C. F., 13. 
Hovey, Henry, 346. 
Howard Athenseum, 246, 247, 

248, 249, 262. 
Howe, Julia Ward, vl, vii, 52, 

318 319 
Howe,' Dr. Samuel G., 144, 179, 

193, 199, 318. 
Howells, William Dean, 403. 
Hull, Commodore Isaac, 349. 
Hunt, Sarah, 220. 
Hunt, William Morris, 285, 286, 

287, 288. 

India Wharf Proprietors, 15, 16. 

Jackson, Pres. Andrew, 349. 
Jackson, Judge Charles, 12. 

Jackson, Francis, 117, 126. 
Jacobs, Harriet, 124. 
James, Henry, 322. 
Jefferson, Joseph, 248. 
Jewett, Charles Coffin, 399. 
Jewett, J. P., 186, 188, 189. 
Jewett, Sarah Orne, 401. 
Johnson, Ohver, 102, 105, 137. 
Julien HousQ, 341. 

Keach, E. F., 257, 261, 263, 264. 
Kean, Edmund, 241. 
Kemble, Charles, 242. 
Kemble, Fanny, 124, 242, 243, 

Kimball, Ebenezer, 336. 
Kimball, Moses, 251, 252, 254. 
King's Chapel, 279, 304. 
Kingsley, Charles, 401. 
Kirkland, Rev. John T., D. D., 

Knapp, Arthur Mason, 400. 
Knapp, Isaac, 101, 105. 
Knight, Madam, 326. 
Knowles, James Sheridan, 276. 
Knowlton, Helen M., 286. 
Kossuth, 184, 185. 

Lafayette, General, 9, 10, 11, 12, 

152, 184, 338. 
Lamb Tavern, 332. 
Lane, William Coolidge, 396. 
Lathrop, Rose Hawthorne, 56. 
Lawrence, Amos A., 192. 
Lawrence, William, 346. 
Leonard, Joseph, 268. 
Lewis, Alonzo, 105. 
Liberator, The, 100, 101, 102, 

103, 104, 105, 113, 114, 116, 

Lincoln, Abraham, 191, 236, 239. 
Lincoln, Mayor Frederick N., 

Jr., 366. 
Lind, Jenny, 259, 289, 290, 291, 

293, 294, 295, 350. 
Livermore, Mary A., 176, 182. 
Lodge, Henry Cabot, 177. 
Longfellow, Henry W a d s - 

worth, 322, 366, 370, 382, 

Loring, EIUs Gray, 105, 130. 



Loring, Mrs. Ellis Gray, 70, 107. 
Lovejoy, Rev. Elijah P., 135. 
Lowell, Charles Russell, 225. 
LoweU, James Jackson, 225, 337. 
Lowell, James Riissell, 60, 127, 

418, 234, 383, 384. 
LoweU, John, 389. 
Lundy, Benjamin, 88. 
Lyman, Theodore, Jr., 20, 115, 


Macready, William C, 349 
Mann, Horace, 179, 339. 
Manning, Rev. J. M., 225. 
Marlborough House, 338, 339, 

Marshall, Emily, 17, 18, 19, 91, 

Marshall, Josiah, 18. 
Marshall, Wyzeman, 270. 
Marshfield, 185. 
Martineau, Harriet, 69, 124, 126, 

127, 129, 130, 168, 343. 
Martyn, Carlos, 157, 171, 182. 
Mason, Hon. Jeremiah, 97. 
Mather, Cotton, 86. 
Mathew, Father, 163. 
May, Frederick W. 0., 91. 
May, Rev. Samuel J., 95, 99, 

100, 105, 109, 110. 
Mayer, Mrs., 266. 
McCarthy, Justin, 277. 
Mill, Mrs. John Stuart, 182. 
Miller, Father, 247. 
Morse, S. F. B., 353. 
Morton, Abigail, 37. 
Morton, Ichabod, 40. 
Motley, John Lothrop, 150, 388, 

Mott, Lucretia, 182. 
Moulton, Louise Chandler, 321, 

Murdock, Harold, 355. 

Nathan, James, 77, 78, 79. 
National Intelligencer, The, 103. 
National Theatre, 246, 252, 262. 
NUsson, Christine, 350. 
Norcross, Otis, 358. 
Norton, Andrews, 205. 
Norton, Charles Eliot, 402. 
Noury, H., 268. 

" Old Comer Book Store," 400. 
Old Court House, 139, 140, 141, 

142, 144, 146. 

Old South Church, 151, 225, 

Old State House, 20, 114, 115, 

Oliver, F. J., 342. 
O'ConneU, Daniel, 111, 163, 164, 

172, 184. 
O'Reilly, John Boyle, 21, 224, 

O'ReiUy, Mary Boyle, 21. 
Orvis, John, 53. 
Ossoli, Marchesa d', see Fuller, 

OssoU, Marquis, 79, 80, 81, 82. 
Otis, Harrison Gray, 5, 13, 16, 

17, 19, 103, 113, 152, 342, 346, 

Otis, Mrs. Harrison Gray, 227, 

298, 306, 307, 308, 310, 311, 

313, 314. 
Otis, Wilham Foster, 18. 

Paine, J. K., 297. 
Papanti, Lorenzo, 314, 315. 
Papyrus Club, 403. 
Parepa-Rosa, 295, 299, 301, 350. 
Park Street Church, 355. 
Parker House, 151, 279. 
Parker, John, 197. 
Parker, Lydia Cabot, 202, 203, 

Parker, Mary S., 116. 
Parker, Theodore, 51, 67, 139, 

143, 175, 176, 183, 193, 197- 
223, 277. 

Parkman, Francis, 219, 388. 
Parsons, Hon. Theophilus, 22, 

Parsons, Thomas W., 270. 
Patti, AdeUna, 270, 360. 
Payne, John Howard, 241, 242. 
Peabody, Elizabeth, 67. 
Peabody, Sophia, 57. 
Peace Jubilee, 295-302. 
Peale, Rembrandt, 251. 
Pease, Elizabeth, 161. 
Pelby, William, 246. 
PeriUi, 248. 



Perkins, Augustus T., 17. 
Perkins, James, 390, 391. 
Perkins, Louisa Dumaresq, 286. 
Perkins, Thomas Handasyd, 

Perry, Nora, 321. 
Phelps, Dr. Abner, 105. 
Phelps, Rev. Amos A., 104. 
Phillips, Adelaide, 252, 259, 

289, 295, 301, 302, 303, 304. 
Phillips, Ann Greene, 107, 128, 

135, 156, 157, 158, 159, 160, 

161, 162, 163, 175, 181. 
Phillips, Mayor John, 5, 6. 
Phillips, Jonathan, 136. 
PhiUips, Wendell, 83, 107, 128, 

135, 136, 137, 150-197, 223, 

224, 225, 314, 323. 
Pierce, Benjamin, 402. 
Pierce, Franklin, 325, 350. 
Kerpont, Rev. John, 8, 91, 253. 
Poe, Edgar A., 56. 
Poole, William F., 396. 
Prescott, William H., 387. 

Quincy, Edmund, 12, 153. 
Quincy, Josiah, Mayor, 1, 2, 5, 6, 

7, 8, 9, 11, 13, 346. 
Quincy, Josiah, Jr., 398. 

Radical Club, 169, 170, 223, 

R^camier, Madame, 65. 
Revere House, 268, 293, 350, 

Rich, Isaac B., 248. 
Ripley, George, 25, 26, 27, 28, 

29, 35, 39, 43, 44, 54, 204. 
Ripley, Hannah B., 37. 
Ripley, Marianne, 37. 
Ripley, Sophia W., 37, 42. 
Robertson, Agnes, 265, 266. 
Robinson, William, 345. 
Rogers, Nathaniel, 338. 
Ronalds, Fanny Carter, 368. 
Rossetti, William, 371, 372. 
Rudersdorf, Madame, 392. 
Russell, Amelia, 38. 
Russell, George, 144. 
Russell, Martha, 142. 
Russell and Company, 15, 16. 
Ryan, Thomas, 289, 291. 

St. Gaudens, Augustus, 234. 
Sanborn, F. B., 154, 192, 321. 
Sargent, Franklin Haven, 320, 

Sargent, Rev. John T., 169, 223. 
Sargent, Mrs. John T., 319, 320, 

321, 322, 323, 324. 
Saturday Club, 402. 
Savage, James, Jr., 225. 
Schultze, William, 295. 
Schurz, Carl, 322. 
Scott, Dorothy Quincy Han- 
cock, 10. 
Scudder, Vida D., 31. 
Sears, David, 346. 
Sewall, Samuel E., 95, 96, 100, 

Seward, William H., 223. 
Shackford, Rev. Charles C, 205. 
Shaw, Chief Justice, 286, 337. 
Shaw, Francis Gould, 51, 202. 
Shaw, Robert Gould, 51, 202, 

226, 231, 232, 233, 234. 
Shaw, Major Samuel, 14. 
Shaw, WiUiam Smith, 389, 396. 
Shepard, Preston, 333. 
Shillaber, B. P., 335. ' 
Sims, Thomas M., 140. 
Smith, Sydney, 177. 
Smith, J. A., 261. 
Smith, W. H., 257, 261. 
Sontag, Madame, 248. 
Sothern, Edward A., 248. 
Sparks, Jared, 201, 366. 
Snelhng, Wilham J., 105. 
Spring, Mrs. Marcus, 82. 
Stackpole House, 338. 
Stanley, Dean, 355. 
Stearns, George Luther, 193. 
Stebbins, Emma, 275. 
Stetson, John, 248, 273. 
Stevens, Benjamin F., 347. 
Stevens, Paran, 349, 350. 
Stone, Lucy, 182. 
Story, Judge Joseph, 154, 328, 

Story, Mrs. W. W., 80, 81. 
Stowe, Harriet Beecher, 186, 

187, 188, 189, 190, 191, 261, 

Stuart, Gilbert, 281, 282, 283. 



Stunner, Charles, 154, 155, 178, 
179, 180, 181, 195, 196, 351. 
Sullivan, Governor James, 12. 
Swift, Lindsay, 28, 33, 52. 
Sylvester, Jonn, 389. 

Tappan, Arthur, 90, 110, 112, 

Tappan, Lewis, 110. 
Taylor, Bayard, 401. 
Taylor, Father, 383. 
Tedesco, 248. 
Thacher, Peter O., 389. 
Thackeray, 401. 
Thoman, Mrs., 261. 
Thompson, George, 111, 112, 

113, 114, 119. 
Thorndike, Israel, 342. 
Ticknor, Anna, 318. 
Ticknor, George, 9, 203. 
Ticknor, Mrs. George, 317, 318. 
Tompkins, Dr. Orlando, 271, 

TopUli, Samuel, 351, 352, 353. 
Tourjee, Eben, 297. 
Traubel, Horace, 375. 
Tremont House, 241, 245, 345- 

350, 401. 
Tremont Temple, 238, 250, 289. 
Tremont Theatre, 238, 240, 241, 

243, 244, 249, 250, 252. 
Trinity Church, 358-361. 
TroUope, Anthony, 401. 
Tudor, Frederick, 346. 
Tudor, WiUiam, Jr., 389. 

United States Hotel, 350. 

Urso, Camilla, 295. 

UrsuUne Convent, 9, 20, 22. 

van Buren, Martin, 349. 
Vattemare, Alexandre, 397, 398, 

Vincent, Mary Ann Farley, 261, 

262, 263, 266, 267. 
von Amim, Bettine, 207. 

Wallaok, Lester, 248. 
Walter, Lynde, 206. 
Walter, ComeHa, 206. 
Ward, Samuel G., 294. 
Warner, Charles Dudley, 190. 
Warren, Dr. John C, 26. 
Warren, Samuel D., 358. 
Warren, William, 248, 256, 257, 

258, 259, 261. 
Washington, George, 283, 313, 

Watson, Rev. John Lee, 19. 
Webster, Daniel, 67, 97, 174, 

177, 178, 181, 185, 187, 211, 

215, 250, 292, 307, 344, 346, 

349, 350. 
Weld, Theodore, 125. 
Wells, Charles, 20. 
Wells, Mrs. Kate Gannett, 317. 

Weiss, John, 170, 200, 323. 
West, Benjamin, 281. 
Whipple, Edwin P., 402. 
Whitman, Frank, 261. 
Whitman, Sarah W., 288. 
Whitman, Walt, 418, 322, 351, 

371, 372, 373, 374, 375, 385. 
Whittier, J. G., 134, 322, 370, 

WiUiams, Archbishop John J., 

Willis, N. P., vi, 18, 124. 
Wiley, Stephen, 335. 
Wilson, John, 262. 
Winslow, Kate Reignolds, 255, 

258, 263, 264, 265. 
Winsor, Justin, 86, 399. 
Winthrop, Robert C, 6, 22, 359, 

Wolcott, Josiah, 39. 
Wood, Mrs. Joseph, 243. 
Woolson, Mrs. Abba Goold, 297. 

Young, Rev. Alexander, 99. 

Zerrahn, Carl, 295, 366.